Crisis Communication – Responding when you are in an emergency

Crisis Communication – Responding when you are in an emergency

June 14, 2023

We hope that you never need this blog in our Knowledge Centre.

Unfortunately from time to time we hear of settings that need to respond in a crisis and as you might imagine that is the worst time to think straight about how you will respond.

Imagine you have an incident at your setting and a child is taken to hospital, you need to respond to parents who saw the ambulance. What do you say? What do you leave out to respect data protection?

Imagine the police take away one of your team in handcuffs? Again what communication do you pass on when the local newspaper asks for a comment because they read about it on Facebook and want to put it online.

Imagine that you are closed by the inspector and have to communicate with the press, parents, prospective parents, staff all at the same time.

Here’s some pointers to consider before the worst happens?

  1. What do we have support with? Will my insurer have the facility to assist me with crisis comms? Am I a member of a membership organisation that gives me access to legal helplines etc.
  2. Who will write the crisis comms? Who has authority and how do we communicate prior to the event who has this authority and who does not.
  3. What words will we use? Thinking about these saves much stress in an already stressful situation. If you know basically the outline of what you will say it can help massively. My father would drive round with a emergency plan in the boot of the car in case the worst was to happen at the factory he was the MD of in the 1980’s. He had a template for most things. Being prepared is one of his mottos.
  4. What words can you say that will inform (you need to stop gossip and speculation) protect individual data protection and maintain confidentaiality and reassure. Parents for example might need someone they can speak to if they have concerns. If you don’t say who that is in the communications them don’t be surprised if they put their favourite worker on the spot! What if they say the wrong thing?
  5. If you are to delegate responsibility make sure you have trained this person in how to handle questions and the crisis. Never assume someone will know how to handle the stress.
  6. Consider an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) they can provide support to all of the team, including those caught up in the crisis, one way or another.

If we can be of any assistance with managing employees during a crisis, please call us on 01527 909436. We offer both retained and adhoc support.

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