There are many different groups that can be involved in communications planning. These groups can include MAC Groups, EOCs, and Inter-departmental groups. However, you should not exclude any organization from participating. In this article, we will discuss how you can include all of them in your communications planning. Here are the best ways to get all of them involved. Read on to learn how to make the most of this important process.
The Inter-departmental group for communications planning has two main purposes. First, it can help companies improve communication between departments. The group can serve as a one-off project or regularly work on similar projects. The group can meet to brainstorm ideas or have lunch and learn events. For better interdepartmental communication, a cross-functional group should provide a more casual atmosphere for employees to get to know one another.
Ideally, an inter-departmental group would be comprised of people from each department to plan out the most effective communications. It is essential to develop relationships and trust among departments. When departments work separately, they often develop silos and have limited opportunities to collaborate. This lack of trust can have a negative impact on inter-departmental communication. An inter-departmental team is necessary to avoid these problems and increase communication across departments.
Another important benefit of establishing an inter-departmental group is increased efficiency. Since most employees are constantly connected to their work through technology, they tend to focus on KPIs within their own department. The result is that they fail to consider how those KPIs might affect the rest of the company. In this case, they miss an opportunity to improve communications between departments. A well-developed communication framework allows departments to work more efficiently and effectively across the organization.
In addition to having meetings, an inter-departmental group should have an online collaboration tool. The main benefit of having a shared repository for communications planning documents is that teams can work together without relying on individual email systems. Email can be a good communication tool for simple questions. Using digital tools such as instant messaging allows departments to connect in real-time. In addition to email, centralized collaboration tools such as a shared digital repository will make the process less complicated for everyone involved.
A critical part of a communications planning process is the involvement of the ICS. Many jurisdictions are already incorporating ICS in their everyday traffic incident response. A recent study by the Federal Highway Administration revealed that nearly two-thirds of U.S. agencies use an ICS to manage traffic incidents, and over half note the presence of a formal policy or State law mandating the use of an ICS. Another 64% of agencies say they use an ICS on-scene, and 18% report that a state law requires the use of an ICS.
Once the first responder has established the Incident Command Post, he or she will communicate the incident plan. The IC should designate a vehicle representing the ICS as the initial Incident Command Post. This vehicle should have an identifiable flag or light to distinguish it from other vehicles. As additional responders arrive, the IC should order resources and establish new ICS organizational elements. Ultimately, the ICS should be involved in communications planning as the key to the success of the incident.
A critical component of an ICS communications plan is its organization. A large ICS organization should have a small enough structure that its span-of-control limits do not become an issue. This is because one individual may have multiple responsibilities at once. As a result, an ICS should be involved in communications planning to ensure that communications planning is effective and coordinated across the entire organization. When implementing an ICS communication plan, the IC/UC must keep the ICS structure within the operational objectives of the organization.
The ICS has one Public Information Officer (PIO). The agency may designate other assistants for specific functions and to support ICS. The Assistant Public Information Officer, in turn, represents other agencies or jurisdictions. They also report to the designated Liaison Officer or the IC/UC. These individuals must ensure that all appropriate agency personnel are checked in. They also provide periodic status reports. For example, a single fire truck at a dumpster fire will have an officer fill the IC role. Only large, complex operations will require a full ICS organization.
An EOC is an emergency operations center where personnel, equipment, and communication technology are kept in case of a crisis or emergency. Its purpose can vary, but it typically involves handling crisis communication, responding to victim calls, or ensuring business continuity. While an EOC may seem similar to a command and control center, they are not intended to serve as a military presence. Instead, they are a multidisciplinary facility that can handle multiple needs and coordinate with multiple agencies during an emergency.
For instance, the EOC may be asked to conduct a press conference or a less formal media availability. To ensure that all messages are consistent and appropriate, the EOC and other Communications and Marketing departments must be involved in communications planning. The EOC’s lead Public Information Officer (PIO) should be involved in communications planning. The PIO will inform the news media of the campus’s plan and provide any needed equipment or information. The PIO will also work with the campus spokesperson and the President’s Office to prepare remarks.
A Communications and Marketing expert is a great resource during a crisis. They have extensive training and experience in creating clear and concise information. They are also highly skilled at delivering their messages effectively over multiple channels. They would write press releases, coordinate press conferences, manage campus web pages, update the emergency 1-888 information line, and compose mass email messages. The EOC PIO will review the communications plan to make sure it meets the needs of the community during an emergency.
Depending on the size and complexity of the incident, the team members should be trained in the specific functions of the EOC. Typically, the members of the EOC team rotate among the various roles. This will ensure that they know exactly what messaging to convey to staff, affected groups, and the community. For more detailed information about the different positions in an EOC, see Table 11.
MAC Groups are composed of representatives from multiple agencies, organizations, and jurisdictions. These groups may be headquartered in different locations or function virtually. They serve as a policy level body responsible for decision making and supporting resource prioritization. In some cases, MAC Groups may be the key to a successful emergency management and communications planning initiative. Although MAC Groups are not a substitute for EOCs, they can aid in planning efforts.
The MAC Group personnel will vary depending on the nature of the incident, the activity level, and the needs of the incident. MAC Groups can be established at any level, and in any discipline. This article discusses some of the key factors to consider when creating a communications plan. Let’s look at some of them:
The most important aspect of a communications plan is to coordinate the efforts of several agencies. This process requires identifying the needed resources, allocating existing resources, and establishing interoperable communications among MAC Entities. Emergency medical teams and first responders handle most of the emergencies, but a large-scale crisis requires coordination of first responders. The role of an Emergency Operations Center is critical for coordination, coordinating the efforts of multiple first responders. A MAC Group also serves as a central hub for information management and response priorities.
In times of emergency, coordinating the flow of information to the public is critical. Using the Joint Information Center, an agency’s Public Information Officer (PIO) uses JIS protocols to coordinate information flow. This ensures that information is accurate and timely, and also establishes how much information is stored and how often it is changed. A JIS-implemented communications plan also includes procedures for handling public feedback.
Communications planning should include a plan for general coordination with other organizations, agencies, and online platforms. Identifying key messages for approval is critical, as are establishing communications channels for various groups and platforms. JIC materials must adhere to approved messaging and be available in alternative formats. If necessary, materials should be developed for public events. Using the resources of JIS and other agencies, JICs can share information, coordinate with the media, and create materials that can be distributed throughout the organization.
Communication planning should include JIS representatives. A JIS should include the People with Access & Functional Needs (PAFN) Unit Lead. This individual will be responsible for crafting key messages, which should be clear, concise, and aimed at a 3rd-grade reading level. Key messages should be accompanied by supporting facts to further explain them. Once key messages are created, they should be reviewed and approved by leadership, and they should be shared with partner organizations and jurisdictions.
An initial alert may precede the JIC operations. In this case, a section should outline the entity or agency responsible for issuing alerts. The entity or entities should outline the procedures for issuing alerts, and where more detailed information can be found. The ongoing alert processes may be addressed in the Information Dissemination section of the communications plan. When planning for an emergency, remember to incorporate JIS into the communications planning process.
About The Author
Pat Rowse is a thinker. He loves delving into Twitter to find the latest scholarly debates and then analyzing them from every possible perspective. He's an introvert who really enjoys spending time alone reading about history and influential people. Pat also has a deep love of the internet and all things digital; she considers himself an amateur internet maven. When he's not buried in a book or online, he can be found hardcore analyzing anything and everything that comes his way.