Communication is Key in Effective Emergency Planning
(from FEMA's Individual & Community Preparedness e-brief, Oct. 24, 2013)
Effective emergency planning includes the needs of everyone, especially the elderly and those with access or functional needs. Many have specific needs that must be considered including hearing loss. If you or someone you know suffers from hearing loss, there are specific steps to take to ensure you can be quickly alerted when disaster strikes. Communication is key to your safety and those around you! Here are some ways to effectively communicate:
- Carry a pre-printed accommodation and access card that has your contact information as well as those who can be notified on your behalf. The card should also include key phrases that will help others communicate with you such as “I cannot hear sirens or alarms” and “I use American Sign Language and need an interpreter.”
- Get a NOAA weather radio with text or visual alerts. If you have a Twitter account you can also receive critical updates directly to your phone from FEMA and other emergency organizations with Twitter Alerts. Twitter Alerts are the fastest way to get essential information when you need it most.
- Before an emergency happens, sign up for the Special Needs Registry with your local emergency management service particularly if you live alone and might require special communication assistance. Do not rely only on the registry! Even if you sign up, be prepared to evacuate or shelter-in-place.
NAGC Webinar Series: Lightning Talks withSubject Matter Experts
Get Out From Behind the Table and Meet Your Public: How to Excel in Face-to-Face Community Relations
Sept. 18, 2013
2:00-3:00 pm EDT
Nothing provides better communication than direct face-to-face interaction with your public. Having an exhibit at local fairs, festivals and other events provide excellent opportunities to promote government programs, explain complex issues, answer questions and put a human face on your agency. Join NAGC President-Elect John Verrico to learn how, even in times of tight government budgets, your agency can excel in this essential community relations function.
- Bring creativity to government exhibits.
- Make your information exciting and memorable.
- Engage your public.
- Unique give-aways that won’t break the bank.
NAGC Webinar Series: Lightning Talks with Subject Matter Experts
Helping the Public “Find Bigfoot”— How Inter-governmental Collaboration Can Clear the Clutter During a Crisis
Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013,
2:00-3:00 pm EDT
For the public, getting clear, accurate information during a disaster can be as difficult as getting Bigfoot to hold still for a high res photo. Unfortunately, the local government entities can contribute to the problem with conflicting information, slow response times and lack of communication with other agencies. The result is that our credibility is damaged and they tune out.
The answer? Collaboration, both internal and external. NAGC President Glen Thomas led this NAGC Webinar, offering a look at how collaboration can help government communicators paint a clear picture for their constituents. He provided tips for both large and small organizations, drawing on his own experience as the supervisor of communications and public relations for Memphis Light, Gas and Water. The webinar covered:
- Crisis communications strategies
- Collaboration at the departmental, internal and external levels
- Identifying the attributes of an effective crisis communications team
- Understanding how many people and how much time should be allocated per person during a crisis
- Defining the triggers that should mobilize the crisis communications personnel
- Establishing drills that provide opportunities for the team to learn to respond to a crisis in real time
- Developing your plan in 60 minutes or less
- Case studies from Memphis/Shelby County
Radio Interview with NAGC President-Elect John Verrico
Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013
Sirius/XM, Channel 124
John was interviewed on Sirius/XM, Channel 124, P.O.T.U.S (Politics of the United States) program, on Aug. 13, 2013. Topics were the previous night's debate at the National Press Club, the role of a government communicator, and what NAGC is all about. Download the MP3 audio file of this radio interview.
Press Club Panel Discussion
Government Public Affairs Offices: More Hindrance Than Help?
Monday, Aug. 12, 2013
This National Press Club event will feature a panel discussion on whether federal public-affairs offices hinder more than help the cause of open government. The panel includes a number of experts from the fields of journalism, public relations and academia who can give voice to multiple perspectives, including NAGC President-Elect John Verrico. The event is sponsored by the National Press Club’s Press Freedom Committee. The moderator will be John M. Donnelly, chairman of the NPC Press Freedom Committee and a senior writer with CQ Roll Call. Panelists include:
- Tony Fratto, Managing Partner at Hamilton Place Strategies, a strategic communications and crisis management consultancy; an on-air contributor on the CNBC Business News Network; formerly deputy assistant to President George W. Bush and principal deputy press secretary;
John Verrico, President-Elect of the National Association of Government Communicators.
Linda Petersen, Managing Editor, The Valley Journals of Salt Lake; freedom of information chair for the Society of Professional Journalists; and president of the Utah Foundation for Open Government.
Carolyn Carlson, former AP reporter; assistant professor of communication at Kennesaw State University near Atlanta; and author of two surveys on the relationship between public affairs staff and the press.
Kathryn Foxhall, a freelance reporter who has extensively researched the issue.
Reporter Comments on How Government and Press Should Work Together
Whether you attended the NAGC 2013 Communications School or had to miss it, there is no doubt that the panel discussion between reporters and government spokespersons brought out some important points about how both groups should work together. Journalist Justin Hienz attended and posted his views in this blog, in this article titled Two Sides of the Same Coin: Government and Media Informing the Public.
From the NAGC President:
- May 3, 2013 - NAGC Communications School: Looking Back, Looking Ahead
NAGC Presents a Special Webinar: Risk
Communication and Strategies
March 27, 2013, 9:00 a.m. EST
Has your agency every had to deal with an emergency or a crisis situation? Have you gotten the phone call that the media is on its way to interview you about it?
Tom Slater, Risk Communications Manager for the New Jersey Department of Health, will share his knowledge and expertise when risk communication becomes necessary for your organization. Whether the objective is to motivate people to take action, calm people down when they are enraged, or to educate and inform, there are specific techniques and strategies to effectively communicate and educate when people are stressed out. The webinar will include Risk Communication Strategies and Principles, Why Everyone is a Spokesperson, and Why We Need the Media.
Government Conferences: Now
Succeeding in Challenging Economic and Regulatory Times
(March 2013) NAGC was one of the sponsors of this webinar, which you can see now on-demand at no charge, with the transcript available for download.
Former ABC Network News correspondent Barbara Pinto guides us through an exploration of changes, challenges and opportunities brought about by the budget, the scandals and the expanding need for government, the private sector, and academia to communicate and collaborate. Topics included:
- The traditional conference is under attack; why and how?
- Strategies for 2013 that consider current budget and travel restriction!
- Does technology have the answers? What are the options?
- Does virtual connectivity really work? What do you gain and what do you lose?
- Hon. Jay M. Cohen, RADM, USN (Ret.)
- Carol Bonasaro, President, Senior Executives Association (SEA)
- John Verrico, President-Elect, NAGC [download slides]
- Adam Arthur, Virtual Platform Initiative Lead, CDC
- Theo Mayer, Chief Technology Officer, Hybrid Conferences Inc.
- Cecily Sommers, Author and futurist
- Daniel Dubno, Emmy-award winning TV producer
NAGC Director John Verrico Quoted in Government Executive Article
In a Mar. 12 article posted on the Government Executive site, NAGC's Director of Professional Development John Verrico was quoted on the role of government public affairs personnel. “Government public affairs personnel should be considered a journalist’s best friend. Our role is that of a facilitator, not a blockade to a story,” he said. “It is in the best interests of both of us to see that a reporter gets the information he or she needs in order to write an accurate account of whatever the issue may be.” Read the article here.
International Delegation Visits NAGC Headquarters
A Montenegro government communications delegation visited NAGC Headquarters on Jan. 30, 2012, to talk with NAGC leaders about the role of government communicators and to exchange information about responsibilities and best practices. Pictured, left to right, are: George Selby, NAGC Past President; Lisa Novak, NAGC Conference Committee; John Verrico, NAGC Professional Development Director; Ana Radusinovic, Spokesperson, Ministry of Justice, Montenegro; Tamara Ralevic, Spokesperson, Police Directorate of Montenegro; and Vuk Vujnovic, Head, International Public Relations, Government of Montenegro Communications Team. Also present was Inda Swanke, Consecutive Interpreter, U.S. Department of State.