Office of Communications and Marketing

Upon receiving notification of an emergency which may lead to media coverage, the Director of Communications and Marketing or designee will meet with all applicable University personnel to:

1.    Identify the emergency; try to determine as quickly as possible the seriousness of the situation.

Keep in mind that rapidly changing situations, e.g. natural disasters or fires, may require frequent reassessments.

2.    Prepare an initial fact sheet and core messages as soon as sufficient details are available.

The fact sheet will be prepared in consultation with those closest to the situation and should be analysed to balance the public's right to know with privacy and security concerns.

3.    Working from the fact sheet, prepare core messages, a brief statement (and briefing document) that can be distributed to administrators, faculty, staff and offices that are likely to receive phone calls from  stakeholders before more detailed information is available. Media enquiries should be directed to Communication Team and/or Director of Communications and Marketing.

Even if the statement says very little, it serves two purposes:

  • Those answering calls will be more comfortable with a script to follow; and
  • It conveys that the University is on top of the situation.

4.    Proactively distribute statements (and briefing documents) to administrators, faculty and staff, especially in offices that are likely to receive phone calls

Those answering the telephones should be instructed to obtain each caller's name, news media affiliation and telephone number and to note the time of each call. Calls generally will be returned in the order they are received.

5.    Identify key audiences.

When feasible, faculty, staff and students will be addressed first, beginning with those closest to the occurrence. Immediate attention also may be required for persons related to those involved in the occurrence, such as parents or spouses. The news media and other external audiences should be considered next.

6.    Determine the best method of communication.

A statement is prepared from the basic fact sheet with appropriate procedural and other information included for each audience.

Last Modified: Thu, 07 Aug 2014 08:33:11 SAST