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Crisis Management Communications Roles and Responsibilities: Administrative Coordinator

Crisis Management Communications Roles and Responsibilities: Administrative Coordinator

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Published by Bob Roemer
The Administrative Coordinator supports the crisis communications team, and must have a working knowledge of the crisis response plan.
The Administrative Coordinator supports the crisis communications team, and must have a working knowledge of the crisis response plan.

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Published by: Bob Roemer on Nov 24, 2009
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07/05/2010

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Crisis Management Communications Rolesand Responsibilities: Administrative Coordinatorby Bob Roemer
A crisis communications plan organizes your team into neat, specific roles andresponsibilities to facilitate rapid and accurate response.But ask anyone who has responded to a crisis, even a "small incident," and they will tellyou there are myriad administrative events and developments that fall outside those rolesthat can overwhelm the communications team. From implementing themedia triage plan to ordering meals for the team someone must have the flexibility and authority to handlethese critical tasks.That person is the Administrative Coordinator.
Tasks and responsibilities: From media triage to web support
The types of tasks the Administrative Coordinator might be asked to accomplish include:
Media triage.
Answer phones, prioritize return calls based onmedia triage parameters,distribute information to the appropriate spokesperson/spokespeople.Although the Administrative Coordinator doesn't conduct interviews, he or she putsreporters in touch with the organization's spokesperson or spokespeopleor makes return calls, even if it's just to say, "Someone will get back to you with the information you needas soon as possible."When reporters call your organization for information about the crisis, they should speak with a person, not an automated answering machine or voice message.
Tip: During crisis exercises and drills have an appropriate statement ready for reporterswho may call asking for information about your training activities. It does happen.
Prepare for a press conference.
The preparations for a press conference should take nomore than 30 minutes. During quarterly crisis table-top exercises the AdministrativeCoordinator should ensure the necessary items, such as
current 
background informationabout your organization, pads of paper, pens spare batteries for the clock and a spare bulbfor the projector are in the room. While you're at it, make sure the projector works.Of course, when not in use during a crisis the press conference room can be used for itsintended purpose.
Tip: To prevent reporters from overhearing conversations about the crisis, the pressconference room you select should not be near where the crisis communications team isworking. Reporters and camera/support crews should always be escorted when they arein your building.
 
Outside support.
Have relevant information in the plan for contacting outside supportsuch as the public relations agency with whom you work, media monitoring services andgovernmental agencies if appropriate. This prevents the Administrative Coordinator fromwasting time during a crisis looking for the information.
Tip: Reinforcements don't have to come from outside. Have contact information for members of your organization who have completed media training and who could act as spokespeople or perform other communications team roles. That contact information should be in, you guessed it, the crisis communications plan.
Make travel arrangements.
Making travel reservations these days can be a real hassle.Whether you use a travel agency or do it yourself, make sure the relevant contactinformation is included in the plan.
Tip: In this age of heightened travel security the crisis communications plan should include the precise name and other information of all team members needed to facilitateobtaining travel documents.
Catering.
 Napoleon observed, "An army travels on its stomach." The same can be saidfor a crisis communications team. Arrange catering for the team when appropriate and, please, go easy on the junk food.
Tip: Avoid placing food and beverages near where the crisis team, especially your  spokespeople, are working. People tend to congregate and gab around food which could cause a distraction. That area must remain quiet.
Accommodations.
If it looks like response efforts will continue beyond normal businesshours arrange accommodations for team members. With the Team Leader, determinestaffing requirements for extended operations.
Tip: Crisis response is high-pressure work. If possible, shifts should last no longer than six hours, four during the initial response phase.
Information Technology (IT).
Whether your IT support is from internal or external providers, the crisis communications plan must include specific contact information inthe plan for Information Technology support.
Tip: Crisis exercises and drills are the perfect time for the Administrative Coordinator toreview the plan and ensure critical IT contact information is included and current.
Website support.
During a crisis your organization's website can provide stakeholderswith timely information about the situation. Posting information can be tricky in the bestof times and a source of frustration during a crisis. Make certain your plan contains up-to-date contact information for the providers of this critical service.

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