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Effective Crisis Communications during an Emergency Event

WERF Project 03-CTS-55CO

Recent world events—from terrorist attacks to natural disasters—clearly demonstrate the need for improved systems of communicating information to the public during an emergency. Since the content, tone, and character of a message can have a large effect on community response, there is a need for utilities to appropriately manage and craft emergency messages. Researchers developed hands-on, research-based communication planning tools specific to water and wastewater utilities. These tools were based on analysis of current emergency communication practices, including a literature review, a survey of water and wastewater utilities, and interviews with select survey participants to derive best practices. 

Using this analysis, researchers created a Communication Preparedness Guide that assists utility representatives in applying current best practices in the industry. A CD-ROM-based software tool, titled eCIMs, for building and managing a customized emergency communications plan accompanies the report.

  • Provides practical tools for emergency communication preparedness specifically for water and wastewater utilities.
  • Employs the best emergency communication practices gleaned from literature reviews, utility surveys, and industry interview data.
  • Develops a quantitative method for reviewing an emergency message for content, tone, and other characteristics.
  • Encourages the ongoing sharing of information among utilities that employ the eCIMS software.

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