Crisis Communications Plan for Labette Center for Mental Health Services Inc.

Crisis Communications Plan Team

Department of Communication Studies

Fort Hays State University

Dr. Qingjiang Yao

Written July 22, 2013

Crystal Chang

Lulu Yu

Monica Simpson






Labette Center for Mental Health Services, Inc., (LCMHS) is a licensed community mental health center serving Labette Country, Kansas. This is a not-for-profit organization, proud to serve the cities of Parsons, Oswego, Chetopa, Altamont, Bartlett, Edna, Labette, Mound Valley, and the communities of Angola, Dennis, Strauss and Valeda as well as outlying trade areas. The mission is to create hope and opportunities for life change by providing education, support, consolation, and therapeutic behavioral health services to the people and communities of Labette County.



By signing this statement, I verify that I have already read this crisis communication plan, and I am prepared to put it into effect.


Matthew M. Atteberry, Executive Director

(Signature and date)


Misti Mustain, Director of Clinical Programs

(Signature and date)


Sandra Dickerson, Director of Business and Financial Services

(Signature and date)


Monica Simpson, Public Relations Specialist

(Signature and date)


Rehearsal dates

Labette Center for Mental Health Services, Inc., (LCMHS) holds quarterly meetings that are scheduled to review all crises, corporate compliance and risk management plans. This would be the best time for the company to have rehearsal of the crisis communication plan take place. These meetings are held on the third Tuesday of each third month.

  • July 30th, 2013
  • October 22nd, 2013
  • January 27th. 2014
  • April 28th. 2014

Purpose and Objectives

To send a message regarding the crisis event in a way that mitigates the effects to the company.

To send a message in a way that communicates clear and accurate information to the publics.

List of key publics

  • Local health care agency
  • Clients
  • Regulatory Bodies- KDADS, Labette County Commission
  • Board of Directors
  • Staff
  • Local Schools
  • Public Health Department
  • Law Enforcement
  • County Disaster Team
  • General Public

Notifying publics

  • Local media personal sent via email:
    • Parsons Sun Newspaper
    • Taylor Newspaper
    • Pittsburg Morning Star Newspaper
    • Good News Newspaper
    • KOAM/Fox Television
    • KSN Television
    • KODF Television
    • KKOW Radio
    • KLKC Radio
    • KRPS Radio
    • City of Parsons KS
    • Parsons Chamber of Commence
    • Association of Community Mental Health Centers of Kansas (ACMHCK)
    • Local Health Care Agencies
      • Labette Health- Contact CEO by phone.
      • Labette County Health Department- Contact Director by phone
      • Other Health Care Agencies- Contact Director by phone
    • Regulatory Bodies (i. e. KDADS, Labette County Commission, Parsons City Commission)
      • Contact appointed agency personal, commissioners, and other necessary individuals by phone.
  1. Board of Directors:
  • Contact each of the 7 Board Members by phone.
    • Dee Bohnenblust- Chairperson
    • Linda Rife- Vice Chairperson
    • Nancy Boegel- Secretary
    • Kirk Wyckoff- Treasurer
    • Jack Flynn- Member at Large
    • Tommey McLarty- Member at Large

  • Staff: Staff will be contacted through dissemination of information passed to supervisors and then through the various levels. Depending on crisis, staff may be contacted or notified through the use of email, internal chat program, or social media.
  • Local Schools: Superintendents and Principals will be contacted by phone.


Identifying the crisis communications team

Matthew Atteberry, executive director

Misti Mustain, Director of Clinical Services

Sandra Dickerson, Director of Business and Financial Services

Monica Simpson, Public Relations and Marketing

Other individuals may be included, as required, dependent on the event.


Crisis Directory:





Dee Bohnenblust



Linda Rife

Vice Chairperson


Nancy Boegel



Kirk Wyckoff



Jack Flynn

Member at Large


Jean McCandless

Member at Large


Tommey McLarty

Member at Large


Media Spokesperson

The main spokesperson is Matthew Atteberry, the executive director of Labette Center for Mental Health Services.  As the Executive Director, he has the authority to make decisions and can be accessible throughout the crisis. The backup spokespersons are Sandra Dickerson, the director of business and financial services and spokesperson Misti Mustain, the director of clinical services.

Emergency personnel and local officials

  • Jodi Scmidt, CEO – Labette Health (local hospital)
  • Debbie Baugher, Director – Labette County Health Department
  • Scott Goforth, Chief of Police – Parsons Police Department
  • Michael Shields, Chief of Police – Altamont Police Department
  • George Elliot, Chief of Police – Oswego Police Department
  • Robert Simms, Sheriff – Labette County Sheriff’s Department

Key Media


  • Parsons Sun Newspaper from Parsons Kansas


  • Taylor Newspaper

Rena Russell – Labette Avenue Editor


  • Pittsburg Morning Sun Newspaper

Andrew Nash

701 N. Locust St. Pittsburg, KS 66762

  • Good News Newspaper

June Freisberg – Editor



  • KOAM/Fox Television –
  • KSN Television –,
  • KODE Television –


  • KKOW Radio –
  • KLKC Radio –
  • KRPS Radio –


  • City of Parsons KS

City Hall, 112 South 17th Street, Parsons, KS 67357

  • Parsons Chamber of Commerce

506 Main Street, Parsons, KS 67357

  • Association of Community Mental Health Centers of Kansas

534 S Kansas Suite 300 Topeka, KS 66603

Spokespersons for related organizations

  • Labette Health (local hospital) – Jodi Scmidt, CEO
  • Labette County Health Department – Debbie Baugher, Director
  • Parsons Police Department – Scott Goforth, Chief of Police
  • Altamont Police Department – Michael Shields, Chief of Police
  • Oswego Police Department – George Elliot, Chief of Police
  • Labette County Sheriff’s Department – Robert Simms, Sheriff
  • ACMHCK (Association of Community Mental Health Centers of Kansas) – Michael Hammond, Executive Director
  • KDADS (Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services) – Designated by the State
  • State of Kansas – Designated by the State

Crisis Communications Control Center

  • 1st Option:  Main building located at 1730 Main Parsons, KS  67357
  • 2nd Option: Adult Case Management Building located at 906 S. 13th Parsons, KS 67357
  • 3rd Option: Children’s Case Management Building located at 7 Katy Drive Parsons, KS 67357
  • 4th Option: Children’s Psychosocial building located at 400 N. Central Parsons, KS  67357

Equipment and supplies

Recommended supplies in the crisis control room:

1 Television

4 Chairs

1 Long desk

4 Computers

Perhaps manual typewriters in case power is a problem

1 Bulletin board

1 Computer printer

4 Cellular phones

1 Map of the plant or crisis area

Battery-powered lamps and flashlights

5 Pens

5 Pencils

4 Telephone directories and contact lists

4 Media directories

4 Copies of crises plans

Food and beverages

1 Copying machine

Pre – gathered information

Safety precautions: Employee safety is not only important for himself/herself and their families, but it is also important for the organizations. Therefore, every employee needs to foster good habits and attitudes for work. Please read the safety precautions and learn from it.

  • Confidentiality in office: Avoid taking confidential documents to public places. Employees who know about the documents should avoid talking about it in publics. Have passwords or codes on the documents.
  • Confidentiality in production area: The last one who leaves the area should turn off all the equipment and make sure the door is locked. Be careful when using electrical source. No smoking in working area.
  • Bad weather: Follow the instruction of supervisors. Stay away from windows, doors and do not walk outdoors.
  • Emergency treatment: All accidents that occur at work must be reported immediately. Leave the dangerous area from the nearest safe exit. The first thing should be done after accident is to rescue the victims; take measures to prevent the accident from spreading.

Location of offices:

1730 Belmont, Parsons, KS. Phone: 620-421-3770. Alternative phone number: 620-421-2937.

Fill-in-the blanks news release:

News Release

For Immediate Release


Contact: (name/phone/title).

(Full name and title of victim) suffered (the crisis/accident) at Labette Center for Mental Health Services. She/he was (age).

Further details will be released by (full name and title) at (time of news conference) at Labette Center for Mental Health Services, 1730 Belmont, Parsons, MAP

Key Messages:

  • Basic Statement (Any Situation):
    • Labette Center for Mental Health Services provides a full range of mental health and substance abuse services to clients of all ages, and works closely with local agencies to provide the best care possible.
    • The professionals at LCMHS work tirelessly to create hope and opportunities for life change by providing education, support, consultation, and therapeutic behavioral health services to the people and communities of Labette County.
    • Active Shooter Event (Internal):
      • Labette Center for Mental Health Services is devastated by the events which have taken place within our Center.
      • We are working with area officials and agencies to best care for our staff, clients and community.
    • Active Shooter Event (External):
      • Labette Center for Mental Health Services is devastated by the events which have taken place within our Center.
      • We are working with area officials and agencies to best care for our staff, clients and community.
      • Our staff will be available to assist with the needs of community members.
    • Bankruptcy:
      • Labette Center for Mental Health Services is an established non-profit organization that has been providing services to Labette County for over 30 years.
      • Labette Center remains dedicated to our community, clients and staff.
    • Death of Key Management Staff:
      • It is with great sadness that Labette Center for Mental Health Services needs to inform the community that (insert name, title) has passed away.
      • We express our deepest condolences to the family and friends of (insert name), as well as to the work family here at Labette Center.
      • Labette Center will stand with our employees during this time of grief.
      • As we work through this loss, Labette Center will be active in filling the space left by (insert name).  In the interim, (insert name of temporary replacement) will step-forward to handle the job duties until a permanent replacement solution is determined.
    • Major Building Damage:
      • Labette Center for Mental Health Services will continue to see clients at our (insert designated location – see company crisis plan) location.
      • Please be assured that Labette Center will work diligently to continue to serve our clients as best possible under the current circumstances.
    • HIPAA Breach:
      • Labette Center for Mental Health Services has taken action to rectify the situation at hand.
      • We sincerely regret that this occurrence has taken place and will work towards finding ways to ensure that this incident does not take place in the future.
      • Labette Center would like to express our sincere apology to those who have been affected and provide reassurance that we are working on a solution to this issue.
    • Sexual Misconduct by Employee:
      • Labette Center for Mental Health Services maintains that we strive to protect the identity and image of those we serve.
      • Labette Center for Mental Health Services has taken action to resolve this issue and expresses our apologies to those affected through the actions of our (former) employee.
      • It is the policy of Labette Center to have no tolerance for sexual misconduct by our employees.  The community can be assured the situation is being handled in a decisive and appropriate manner.
    • Fraud:
      • Labette Center for Mental Health Services is actively seeking to resolve the issue.
      • Labette Center does not tolerate illegal activities taking place by or involving our staff.
      • We will be finding ways to resolve the issue internally with the hope of the situation causing the least amount of disruption to our clients and staff possible.


Labette Center for Mental Health Services provides a website with the address  This website is maintained internally by Monica M. Simpson, Public Relations Specialist.  Hosting and technical support for this website is provided by Tom Schwarz, Lookinglass Sales & Services.

Contact information for website:

Blogs and Social Media:

Labette Center for Mental Health provides a variety of social media sites for the public to access information from.  All sites listed below are maintained by Monica M. Simpson, Public Relations Specialist.  Simpson can be contacted at 620-421-3370 or  Alternate phone number is 620-778-2313.

Trick Questions:

  • Speculative
    • If someone in the agency had been armed, would they have been able to stop the shooter?
    • If the shooter had received services from Labette Center, could this have been avoided?
    • If the company had implemented layoffs, could this have been avoided?
    • Leading
      • It is correct that the shooter was a client of your facility, right?
      • There were clients trapped in the building at the time of the damage, correct?
      • (Insert name) had been accused of sexual misconduct in the past, right?
      • (Insert name) had previous driving violations, correct?


  • Loaded
    • Isn’t it true that you knew the company was in financial trouble, yet did nothing to fix the situation?
    • Isn’t it true that you knew (insert name) had been accused of sexual misconduct, yet employed them anyway?
    • Naïve
      • What knowledge do you have about mental health issues?
      • What position did (insert name) hold at the time of his/her death?
      • What is considered confidential information?
    • False
      • You had specific knowledge the shooter intended to take this action, correct?
      • The company refused to cut back on spending, which would have allowed them avoid bankruptcy, correct?
      • The company new (insert name) was committing fraud, but did not take action until it became public, correct?
    • Know-it-all
      • We already have all the information needed, but would like for you to wrap up the facts.


  • Accusatory
    • You could have stopped this tragedy from happening, couldn’t you?
    • You had the information to fix the situation, but did not do so, did you?
    • Multi-Part
      • The shooter had been a client of your facility, correct?  And your staff knew that this person was having violent thoughts?
    • Jargonistic
      • The shooter was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia along with substance use and was a client in your duel diagnosis community support services program, correct?
      • A malfunction occurred in your EMR system regarding the Axis I diagnostic information, correct?
    • Chummy
      • So, friend, off the record, you knew (insert name) was having sexual relations with their clients right?
    • Labeling
      • Would you say the employee was “stressed” due to work conditions when the breach of confidentiality occurred?
      • Would you say the employee was in financial “despair” when he/she committed fraud?
    • Good-Bye
      • By the way, the shooters family reported they received services from you.  Is that correct?
      • One last thing, could you have prevented the shooter from committing this act?
      • By the way, did you know (insert name) had previously been accused of sexual misconduct?

List of Prodromes

  • Active Shooter Event (Inside/Outside Agency):
    • Internal – Agitated employees, tension in the work place, tension with clientele
    • External – Economic difficulty in the community, lack of work available, deterioration of education system, deterioration of legal system
    • Bankruptcy
      • Financial difficulties in the company
      • Inability to meet budget guidelines
      • Increased cost of providing services with a decrease in funding
    • HIPAA Breach
      • Discourse amoung employees
      • Lack of training
      • Noticeable increase in employees openly discussing confidential information
    • Sexual Misconduct by Employee
      • Increased flirtation
      • Increased talking or discussing of the opposite sex


List of Related URL’s


  • Evaluations will be conducted with the use of Survey Monkey.  This is the standard for which Labette Center for Mental Health Services conducts evaluations.  Evaluations will be sent to management and crisis communication team members.
  • Questions for evaluation will include, but are not limited to:
    • Was the crisis addressed in an appropriate amount of time?
    • Were there open communications with employees and key publics?
    • Did employees feel valued by the company?
    • Did key publics feel informed about the crisis?
    • Were media relations open and timely?
    • Was the employee response positive?
    • Was the public response positive?
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Case Study – Coca Cola

Monica M. Simpson

Case Study – Coca Cola Twitter Message Response

COMM 642 – Crisis Management and Strategies

July 18, 2013


Coca Cola



Background:  Coca-Cola Company was created in 1886 by an Atlanta pharmacist by the name of James Pemberton.  (Coca-Cola History, Online) In the first year the drink was sold to the public only 9 classes per day were purchased.  In 1923, Robert Woodruff a “marketing genius” took the lead reins of the company.  He spent more than 60 years leading Coca-Cola to grand successes.  Through his time with the company, Coca-Cola was introduced to the Olympics, widely used as an encouraging message for military during World War II and then marketed throughout the world.  The drink was destined to become a household name.  In the 1980’s, Coca-Cola expanded its variety to include Sprite and other flavors of drinks.  They flourished with public relations campaigns that showed Coca-Cola as a brand that cared about its consumers, and the world around them.  In 1985 the company, under the leadership of Roberto C. Goizueta, embarked on a marketing fiasco with the change to “New Coke” formula, which had a different formula and a different taste.   This was the first time the formula had been changed in 99 years.  Goizueta wanted to give the customers a bold new Coke.  However the public rejected it and the original formula was returned to the shelves.  This strategy is seen by many as one of the largest marketing blunders ever.   Coca-Cola in the present does a large quantity of marketing online. 


Problem:  In the fall of 2008, the software used by Coca-Cola to track discussions about their product, found a twitter post which complained about the Coke Rewards program.  (Wall Street Journal, Online)  Adam Brown, who would later become the company’s first head of social media, noticed that this specific person had over 10,000 followers who would see the negative post.




  • The company has been in business for well over 100 years.
  • Coca-Cola has a long history of good standings with their consumers.
  • Coca-Cola has created an overall image of caring for their consumers.


  • At the time the “Tweet” was discovered, Coca-Cola had not yet began using social media.
  • There was no plan in place for how to handle a social media crisis.


  • There was a new opportunity to interact with consumers and show that Coca-Cola cared about its customers.
  • There would be the opportunity to reach a much larger and broader base of consumers through the use of social media.
  • Coca-Cola could gain better customer approval and recognition.



  • There is always a danger with social media sites that customer feedback could be negative. 
  • Social media requires constant monitoring to control negative effects and to respond properly to questions.


Strategies:  For the initial incident, Brown posted an apology to the customer’s Twitter profile.  He also offered to assure the customer that he would indeed get his rewards.  The consumer proceeded to change his profile picture to an image of himself holding a Coke bottle. Rising from this incident, Brown became the head of Social Media in March of 2009.  In December of 2008 the company created a Facebook page and a Twitter profile was created in March of 2009.    By August of 2009 the company was prepared to let participants of social media sites post without having to gain approval from the public relations department.  (Wall Street Journal, Online)  In December of 2009 the company released their “Online Social Media Principals”, which can be found on the company website.

Consequences (Results):  Even though there had been the possibility of negative effects on the Coca-Cola brand due to social media, the company was able to utilize the situation to create a positive experience for the customer.  Because of this event, the company became aware that there was a necessity for utilizing new technologies available, including social media.  They were then able to embrace the changes in marketing and public relations tactics.  As of today, Coca-Cola has over 69 million likes on Facebook, over 5 million users on YouTube and over 98 thousand followers on Twitter.  They also utilize Google+, LinkedIn, and Instagram. (Coca-Cola Company, Online)

Comments:  Through the quick thinking of valued employees, the company was able to quickly negate a possible issue with customer relations.  By spurring a social media campaign they were able to continue their tradition of loyalty to their customers.  Throughout the long history of the Coca-Cola Company they were able to maintain a demeanor of support for their customers.  With campaigns that ranged from supporting the military through wars to providing a caring atmosphere and appreciation of customer support throughout the years.  Adam Brown made the decision to continue that legacy with the customer base. This event was able to keep the Coca-Cola Company in a positive light and give the consumers the feeling that the company truly cared what their thoughts were.  From the event, an entirely new era was created for the public relations and marketing efforts of the company.  What this case shows is the necessity of companies to be able to move forward with new technological advances and trends.  Without being able to adapt to the current atmosphere of public relations and marketing, a company could fall behind.




Needleman, Sarah E. (2009, August 3). For Companies, a Tweet in Time Can Avert PR Mess. retrieved 2013, July 16, from Wall Street Journal Online Web Site:


Our Company – The Coca-Cola Company. (n.d) retrieved 2013, July 16, from Coca Cola Company Web Site:

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Additional thought on Exxon Valdez – Going Past Exxon Crisis Communication

As I was sitting here contemplating writing my case study for the Haagan Daz and the Honey Bees, I began thinking about another very important public relations campaign that was tied to the Exxon Valdez oil spill.  This campaign, however is not one by Exxon themselves and reminds me in some ways of the Haagan Daz campaign.  When the oil spill took place, and their were massive animal rescue efforts taking place, it became common knowledge for average citizens that Dawn dish soap could effectively take the oil off the effected animals, including birds, seals, etc.  Dawn created a massive public relations (and in essence, sales) campaign from that knowledge.  The began massive rescue effort campaigns and promoted the well being of animals in Alaska.  As I said, I thought of this while contemplating the Haagan Daz case, however I tend to constantly think of more than one problem at any given point, so I was also thinking about the fact that my dogs needed to have flea medicine put on them.  I typically always give them a bath using Dawn dish soap before applying flea medicine.  Why?  Because it is common knowledge that Dawn will kill the fleas and get any deep down dirt out of their fur.  Why is this common knowledge?  Because when the Exxon Valdez oil spill took place, Dawn made sure its benefits to animal lovers was common knowledge, making them one of the most used dish soap brands, not for doing dishes, but for cleansing our beloved fury (or feathered) friends. To this day, Dawn puts a symbol on its bottles stating “Dawn helps save wildlife” and many of their bottles have larger pictures of birds, seals, or other animals.  Just like the Haagan Daz case, brilliant use of crisis communication when the crisis is not necessarily theirs.  Just an interesting public relations thought I had this morning and thought I would share.  Any other thoughts?

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Group Project

Does the rest of the class have any ideas regarding finding members for the group project?

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Crisis Management Summer 2013 Introduction

My name is Monica Simpson.  I studied at FHSU at the beginning of my college career and then eventually transferred to Pittsburg State University to receive my Bachelor of General Studies, emphasis in Communications/Public Relations.  I am in the first year of the master’s program for the MLS in Social Networking.  I live in St. Paul, KS which is located in the far southeast corner of the state and am in charge of public relations and marketing at Labette Center for Mental Health Services, Inc. which is a non-profit community mental health center. I have become very active in the utilization of social media for public relations and marketing needs, including giving presentations and seminars to small business owners on how to make the best use of social networking for their business.  I have decided to acquire my master’s degree so I can further my knowledge in these areas and possibly have the opportunity to teach at some point.

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Group 4 Crisis Communication Plan for NW-SCC


Created 7/27/12






Crisis Team Members

President, Dr. Humphrey Lee

Vice President of Instruction, Dr. Glenda Colagross

Public Information Officer, Trent Randolph

Associate Dean, Charles Taylor

Associate Dean, Dr. Timmy James

Campus Safety Officer, Doug Hargett

Assistant Dean, John Macintosh

Assistant Dean, Rose Jones

Chief Financial Officer, Paul Merrill

Head of Campus Emergency Medical Services, Mark Simpson

Building Coordinator, Tim Inman

Letter from Dr. Humphrey Lee (President, Northwest-Shoals Community College):

On behalf of administration, faculty and staff we are moving in a direction of new technologies and innovations to maintain and enhance the quality of education for the communities within the Shoals Area as well as Northwest Alabama. NW-SCC constantly seeks to provide you with a superior education by the most convenient and affordable means possible.

We are also committed to the safety and security of students, faculty, staff and visitors on our campus. Our Crisis Communications Plan is the college’s official emergency communications plan.  We support the plan and commit the college’s resources to ongoing training and exercises to keep the plan up to date.  Clear communication within the college and emergency management officials is essential.

Planning, preparation, and training will help administration, faculty, and staff learn the proper course of action in an emergency.  This manual will provide step-by-step guidelines to help manage emergencies that may occur.  This manual cannot foresee all possible circumstances of an emergency, but will cover as much as it possibly can.  Faculty and staff must be prepared to evaluate all the circumstances and make sound judgments based on the situation.  All employees will receive annual training.

Remember, we are here to serve you, because you are our top priority!


Dr. Humphrey Lee

Crisis Team

Dr. Humphrey LeePresident

Primary Spokesperson

  Phone numbers omitted
Dr. Glenda ColagrossVice President of Instruction

Incident Commander- Shoals Campus

Phone numbers omitted
Charles TaylorAssociate Dean

Incident Commander- Phil Campbell Campus

Phone numbers omitted
Trent RandolphPublic Relations Manager, Public Information Officer

All Communications, Secondary Spokesperson

Phone numbers omitted
Teresa HarrisonPresident’s Secretary


Phone numbers omitted
Paul MerrillChief Financial Officer

Command Center Operations, Fourth Spokesperson

Phone numbers omitted
Tammy GreshamChief Financial Secretary


Phone numbers omitted
Lavon DuboisStaff Member- Phil Campbell Campus

Faculty/Staff  Supervision

Phone numbers omitted
Kristi PhillipsStaff Member- Shoals Campus

Faculty/Staff Supervision

Phone numbers omitted
Dr. Timmy JamesAssociate Dean- Phil Campbell Campus

Student Supervision

Phone numbers omitted
Rose JonesAssociate Dean- Shoals Campus

Student Supervision

Phone numbers omitted
Bob EnglandWilderness First Responder

Search and Rescue

Phone numbers omitted
Doug HargettCampus Safety Officer


Phone numbers omitted
Tim InmanMaintenance Supervisor

Building Coordinator

Phone numbers omitted
John MacintoshAssistant Dean

Liaison to extended agencies

   Phone numbers      omitted
Mark SimpsonHead of Emergency Medical Services Medical/First Aid  Phone numbers omitted
Tom CarterTertiary Spokesperson  


Emergency Contacts

Muscle Shoals Police Department   256-383-6746
Phil Campbell Police Department 205-993-5313
Colbert County Sheriff’s Department 256-386-8530
Franklin County Sheriff’s Department 256-332-8811
Muscle Shoals Fire Department 256-386-9230
Phil Campbell Fire Department 205-993-5313
Mike MeltonColbert County EMA Director 256-386-8558
Roy GoberFranklin County EMA Director 256-332-8890
Shoals Hospital 256-386-1600

Media Contacts



WVNA Radio          256-383-2525 NWSCC Broadcasting        256-314-0633
WQLT Radio           256-164-8121 WHNT                                  256-534-7226
WMSR-FM              256-766-9436 WAFF                                   256-533-6397
WZZA                     256-381-1862 WAAY                                   256-533-3131
WJBB Radio            205-486-2277
WERH                     205-921-3481
WXKI/WHIY            256-837-9387
WGOL                     256-332-0214


Times Daily


Franklin County Times


Northwest Alabamian


Courier Journal


Colbert County Reporter


Crisis Communication Plan

Mission and Goals


1. Protect lives and property

2. Respond to emergencies promptly and properly

3. Coordinate with local emergency operations plans and community resources

4. Aid in recovery from disasters


1. Provide emergency response plans, services, and supplies for all facilities and employees

2. Ensure the safety and supervision of students, faculty, staff and visitors to the school.

3. Restore normal services as quickly as possible

4. Coordinate the use of school personnel and facilities

5. Provide detailed and accurate documentation of emergencies to aid in the recovery process.


Crisis– A crisis is a major, unplanned event that threatens our students, faculty, facility and our community.

Crisis Communications– The dialog between our college and our publics before, during and after a crisis in order to minimize damage to our image

Emergency Operations Center – To be used if primary command center is unavailable

Tornado– A tornado is a violently rotating column of air extending between, and in contact with, a cloud and the surface of the earth.

Severe thunderstorm– Can produce tornadoes or cause damage from strong wind gusts and/or hail.

Tornado watch– Conditions are conducive to the development of tornadoes in/close to the watch area.

Tornado warning– A tornado has been sighted by spotters or indicated on radar and is occurring or imminent in the warning area.

Severe thunderstorm watch– Conditions are conducive to the development of severe thunderstorms in and close to the watch area.

Severe thunderstorm warning– A severe thunderstorm has been observed by spotters or indicated on radar, and is occurring or imminent in the warning area.









Local Law enforcement

Alabama State Board of Education (District Member, Gary Warren)

Department of Postsecondary Education

Mayor of Muscle Shoals, David Bradford

Mayor of Phil Campbell, Jerry Mays

Governor of Alabama, Dr. Robert J. Bentley


Communications Procedure During Tornado

If a tornado is spotted in the area


All Crisis Communication Team Members watch weather forecasts to be aware of tornado warnings at all times.

Incident Commander makes the following announcement using the Public Address System, 2-way radio, telephone and/or Patriot Alert System:

“Your attention please: We are experiencing an emergency situation and need to implement shelter-in-place procedures. Students and staff are directed to move to the designated shelter locations and safe areas.  All staff and students outside are to immediately move to the protection of an inside room.”

All Communications orders a reverse evacuation for students and staff outside to move inside the building. Use the Public Address System, 2-way radio, telephone and/or Patriot Alert System or runner to gather staff and students inside.

Student Supervision directs staff to close all windows and doors.

Building Coordinator orders the shut-off of heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems to stop the inflow of outside air into the building, if warranted.

Liaison to extended agencies notifies the Department of Post-secondary personnel that the college is using the Shelter-in-place.

Recorder monitors the weather radio and reports any changes in status to the Incident Commander: Drop, cover and hold, All clear.

Building Coordinator shuts off utilities if necessary and turns off ventilation systems as appropriate.

Faculty/Staff Supervision moves students to the designated safe areas, closes classroom doors and windows when leaving, has everyone kneel down and be ready to cover their heads to protect from debris.

Faculty/Staff outside directs students into the nearest building, interior safe area or basement, has those outside attempt to squat or lie low in the nearest open ditch or low spot away from trees and power poles if there is no time to get into the shelter.

Communications Procedure During Tornado

If a tornado touches down

Liaison to extended agencies notifies emergency response personnel as necessary.

Safety/Security contacts campus police and ensures the safety of students and staff.

Command Center Operations notifies Incident Commander, establishes command center and activates Crisis Communications Team.

Medical/First Aid contacts emergency medical facilities to rescue students and staff if anyone is thought to be injured.

Search and Rescue performs a headcount on all students and staff and communicates any missing persons to the Recorder who will notify Incident Commander.

As many Crisis Team Members as possible report to the command center or the Emergency Operations Center if the Command center is inoperable.

Tertiary Spokesperson utilizes the telephone log sheet to answer incoming calls.

All Communications contacts local media and the police.

Faculty/Staff Supervision contacts emergency medical facilities for updated information on injured students and staff.

Liaison to Extended Agencies updates Facebook status and continues to post Twitter updates about the safety of students and staff as information becomes available.

All Communications invites local media to press conference after establishing date/time with the President.

Incident Commander uses checklist to set up for press conference after all lives have been accounted for and emergency responders have treated all injured students and faculty.

Student Supervision establishes shelter for any students/faculty whose homes have been effected.

Building Coordinator manages building maintenance and rehabilitation.

Runner gathers information from the team, writes a statement for the press and briefs the Spokesperson.

Incident Commander chooses available faculty and hosts a press conference ASAP.

Recorder records video of Spokesperson’s statement and posts to YouTube.

All Communications continues to update Facebook and Twitter.

Primary and Tertiary Spokesperson return phone calls and follows up with the Press.

Communications Procedure After a Tornado

After the Crisis has been resolved and programs return to normal

Runner assists the President in writing letters and cards to affected families, students and faculty thanking for their help and expressing sympathy and supervises delivery of these messages.

All Communications assists the President in releasing another public statement.

Incident Commander distributes evaluation forms to the Crisis Communications Team and leads revision of the Crisis Communications Plan.

Liaison to Extended Agencies continues to update Facebook and Twitter.

Crisis Command Center

This is our designated space to gather and manage our crisis including handling 100+ incoming phone calls, meeting with the media and communicating with publics.


Emergency Operations Center (if primary location is unavailable):_________________________

Necessary supplies/equipment:

_ Updated copy of Crisis Communications Plan.
_ Chairs and tables to accommodate all team members.
_ Pencils, pens, paper, company letterhead paper, envelopes, staplers and highlighters.
_ White board, blackboard or flip chart with markers or chalk.
_ Flashlights and battery powered lamps.
_ Walkie talkies.
_ Battery powered radio.
_ As many telephones and computers as possible. Include manual typewriter.
_ Extension cords and generator accessibility.
_ Copy machine.
_ Cameras and film.
_ First Aid kits.
_ None perishable food and beverage.
_ Hard copy of updated policy and procedures, safety records, company fact sheets and annual reports.

Telephone Log Sheet

It is important for future reference to have documentation of calls received and returned for future reference. It is equally important to communicate with as many publics as possible, as quickly as possible to keep lines of communication open throughout the crisis.  Please use this form and make copies as needed to keep a log of communications. Pay attention to high priority calls especially.

Priority (circle one):                High                             Medium                                  Low

____ Voice mail Box

Received From:______________________________




Message: _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Call Returned by:________________________________________________________________

Date:____________________ Time:_____________________

Notes: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Social Media Checklist

Team Member Responsible:_______________________________________________________

_ Email blast to all students.
_ Facebook Update expressing concern/regret/condolences.
_ Update Twitter every time there is new information available.
_ Submit podcast of public statement and update on what is being done by the team.
_ Submit a video of the CEO’s statement to the press on the YouTube account.
_ Mail letters/cards to affected students or families expressing support in any way.

Guide to writing social media messages

  • Respect your publics. Think from the student’s perspective. What information do you think they want? What information do they already know?
  • Remember that social media such as Facebook and Twitter are public. Only state what you wish the world to know about the crisis.
  • Don’t forget about snail mail. Consider sending info on tornado warnings and available shelters in the mail during tornado season.
  • Scan media on a regular basis for what students and publics are saying about the college. Respond to misinformation.
  • Only convey certain factual information.
  • Be as brief as possible.
  • No emoticons! Emoticons should not be used to convey serious information.
  • Edit and proofread thoroughly. Do not rely on spell-check alone.


Every member of the crisis team should be diligent in scanning social media to detect misinformation or rumors. Notify the chosen social media representative immediately.


(Fact Sheet)

Current number of faculty and staff: ______

Current number of students attending regular classes: ______

_ Photos of Faculty and students involved in the crisis.
_ Maps of our campus: Shoals Campus and Phil Campbell Campus (see attached maps).

Northwest-Shoals Community College is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award the Associate in Arts, Associate in Science, Associate in Applied Science and Associate in Occupational Technology degrees as well as certificates in specific occupational areas. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Northwest-Shoals Community College.

Location of Storm shelters

Phil Campbell: The basement of buildings 302, 308, 310, and 312

Shoals Campus: All buildings – since there are no buildings with basements on this campus, faculty, staff and students will be instructed to enter into an interior hallway away from windows and put their heads down

Phil Campbell Campus

Shoals Campus

Key Messages

In accordance with our mission, our priority is the safety of students, staff members and our community as well as property. Our goal is to react swiftly to crises and restore services as quickly as possible.

The following points are important to mention in interviews with the media and interaction with publics:

  • “Our primary concern is for the safety of our students, staff members and our community.”
  • “We are prepared at all times to maintain functionality of our facility. We will be restoring service to our students as soon as possible.”
  • “We are currently working with local law enforcement and emergency services to manage the situation quickly.”
  • “Our concern extends to the entire community. We will be communicating information frequently as we resolve this matter.”

Incident Information Sheet

_ Initial Report _ Update

Date:_____________ Time:_____________  Check one:

What happened? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

When did this happen? Who was first to respond? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Which emergency responders are aware and on their way? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Where did it happen? Be specific! (ex: Building, room)


What is the function of this area?


What is the number of students/faculty evacuated from this area? ______________________________

Who has been injured?

Where are they being treated?


What is being done to manage this event? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Public Information Release

_ Muscle Shoals, AL _ Phil Campbell, AL

Northwest-Shoals Community College:



To an be used in print and/or as a script.

_____________Campus of Northwest-Shoals Community College has just experienced a(an) ____________________.

_ The (students/employees) (are or have been) accounted for.
_ No further information is available at this time.


Emergency medical services

_ are here.
_ are on the way.
_ are unavailable to use.


_ are here.
_ are on the way.
_ are unavailable to use.

Fire department

_ are here.
_ are on the way.
_ are unavailable to use.

Communication centers for parents and or families (are/is) being set up at (location)_______________ to answer questions about individual students.

_ There have been no reported injuries at this time.OR
_ Injuries have been reported at ____________ (location) and are being treated at the site by (Staff/professional medical responders).
_ Students/Employees have been taken to a safe area.
_ (number)_____ students have been taken to the local emergency room for treatment of injuries. Families of injured students should go to the emergency room at ______________.
_ (number)_____ employees have been taken to the local emergency room for treatment of injuries. Families of injured students should go to the emergency room at ______________.
_ (number)_____ confirmed deaths have been reported at ____________(location). Names cannot be released until families have been notified.
_ Structural damage has been reported at the following sites: ___________________________.


Checklist for Establishing a Press Conference

Part One

Choose several potential locations before a crisis occurs. List three potential locations below:


_ Check with the President and determine the time for the press conference. Time:______. Establish a time that is ASAP!
_ Use the media list to notify them of the time and location of the conference.
_ Names of the reporters who plan to attend:


_ Invite outside officials if desired.
_ Person assigned to setting up the conference space: _____________________________
_ Video recorder.
_ Junction box for microphones.
_ Podium and background.
_ Chairs/tables.
_ Place press kits at the entrance (copies of fact sheets, news release, biographical info, campus map, annual report, etc).
_ Check sound and functioning of all electrical equipment.
_ Place sign in sheet at the entrance.


Checklist for establishing a press conference

Part Two

_ Brief the President and any expert spokespeople (see Briefing form).
_ Review potential questions and responses.
_ Assigned staff member to manage the conference:_______________________________
  • Invite media personnel into the conference area, direct them to press kits and sign in sheet.
  • Announce the ground rules (one question at a time, length of conference, etc…)
  • Monitor questions closely.
  • Announce the last question.
  • Escort media out and take information from anyone who has follow up questions, assure them that they will be contacted.


Post Conference

_ Respond to follow up requests.
_ Monitor news coverage and respond to any errors.
_ Do not forget to follow up with media personnel who attended after the crisis has cleared. Ask for their feedback and include this in evaluation of the crisis response.

Welcome to Northwest Shoals Community College. Please sign in.

Name:                                                                         Contact info (email or phone please):



Please use this guide to briefing the spokesperson before telephone interviews or press conferences.

Date of interview:___________ Time:_________ Location:______________________________________________________________________

Name of the reporter:___________________________________________________________

Name of their publication (media source):____________________________________________

What you need to know about this reporter (what to expect from them): ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Information requested from the reporter: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Recommended Response and background info: __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Our Key messages:

  • “Our primary concern is for the safety of our students, staff members and our community.”
  • “We are prepared at all times to maintain functionality of our facility. We will be restoring service to our students as soon as possible.”
  • “We are currently working with local law enforcement and emergency services to manage the situation quickly.”
  • “Our concern extends to the entire community. We will be communicating information frequently as we resolve this matter.”

Expert spokesperson(s) to be included in the interview:


Issues to avoid: ___________________________________________________________________________________


Remember: NEVER respond with “No comment.” State “I’m not sure at this time. I will contact you as soon as I know.” And do not speculate!

Guide to Media Questions


  1. Never EVER say “No Comment.” Instead, state that you are unsure or do not have all of the facts and would prefer to report information you are certain about. “As soon as I am certain, I will follow up with you.” Never answer with your best guess.
  2. BE SINCERE. Respond to the crisis as the concerned person that you are. Show the media that you care just as much or even more than they do. Embrace your emotions!
  3. Utilize key messages as much as possible.
  4. Take responsibility for the crisis and do not place blame on anyone. No excuses!
  5. Have a prepared statement.
  6. Use language that the general public will understand easily.
  7. Stay calm.
  8. Be respectful towards reporters. Use their name as much as possible and listen to the entire question before answering. Look them in the eye. They are our Allies!
  9. Do not allow questions that require you to predict the future. Request that questions relate to the present situation and assure everyone that the college is working hard to end the crisis swiftly.
  10. Remove gum or sunglasses and keep water nearby.
  11. Beware of casual questions after the questions are through. Everything you say will be utilized by the media.
  12. If a question has several parts, break it down and answer each part separately.
  13. Avoid sarcasm and expressing frustration towards inappropriate questions. Utilize key messages and BE FACTUAL.




Evaluation Form

Please provide your input for evaluation of our response to our recent crisis. This will help us modify our current crisis plan and be better prepared for future crisis.

What part of our crisis communications plan was most helpful?

Was any part of our plan ineffective or obsolete?

What do you think we could have done differently?

Should anything be added to our plan to aid in a better reaction in the future?

Was there anything missing at our command center?


            This plan will be rehearsed by the faculty and staff one week before the fall semester and one week before the spring semester. An ad-hock drill that will include the student body will be rehearsed during the spring semester. The date will be chosen by the President of the college to ensure that it will have maximum student involvement.





By signing this document, I acknowledge that I have read and understand the contents here in, and I agree to the implementation as our sole crisis communication plan.


________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Sign:



Additional information related to Tornado Warning Signs


Be alert to what is happening outside as well. Here are some of the things that people describe when they tell about a tornado experience:

  • A sickly greenish or greenish black color to the sky.
  • If there is a watch or warning posted, then the fall of hail should be considered as a real danger sign. Hail can be common in some areas, however, and usually has no tornadic activity along with it.
  • A strange quiet that occurs within or shortly after the thunderstorm.
  • Clouds moving by very fast, especially in a rotating pattern or converging toward one area of the sky.
  • A sound a little like a waterfall or rushing air at first, but turning into a roar as it comes closer. The sound of a tornado has been likened to that of both railroad trains and jets.
  • Debris dropping from the sky.
  • An obvious “funnel-shaped” cloud that is rotating, or debris such as branches or leaves being pulled upwards, even if there is no funnel cloud visible.




“If you see a tornado and it is not moving to the right or to the left relative to trees or power poles in the distance, it may be moving towards you! Remember that although tornadoes usually move from southwest to northeast, they also move towards the east, the southeast, the north, and even northwest.”

In the event that you cannot make it to the designated shelter area, remember to take refuge:

“in a small, windowless, first floor, interior room like a closet or bathroom. The bathtub and commode are anchored directly into the ground, and sometimes are the only thing left in place after the tornado. Getting into the bathtub with a couch cushion over you gives you protection on all sides, as well as an extra anchor to the foundation. Plumbing pipes may or may not help hold the walls together, but all the extra framing that it takes to put a bathroom together may make a big difference. If there is no downstairs bathroom and the closets are all packed with “stuff,” a hall may be the best shelter. Put as many walls as you can between yourself and the tornado. In a pinch, put a metal trash can over as much of you as you can. It will keep some flying debris from injuring you. Even that may make the difference between life and death.”


Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Coca Cola

Natalie Fisher

Crisis plan 4

20 July 2012

Coca Cola

Background: Coca Cola started out as an experiment in Atlanta Georgia in 1886 by a guy who went by the name of John Pemberton. Mr. Pemberton only sold around 9 glasses a day. Sadly he passed on only 2 years after he invented Coca Cola. After he passes his legion lived on and is now a huge manufacturer for all over the world and is very popular.


Problem: On June 14th 2009 Coca Cola was suspected of “poisonings” in their product in Belgian. Many kids and students were getting ill and saying that there was a discolored substance and odor on the cans. Also people were saying that the Coca Cola in the bottle was discolored and looked funny. This product was making people have physical injuries and many just feeling ill. Belgian pulled Coca Cola off the shelves and many countries followed.


Strengths: Coca Cola has a very strong PR and marketing group and had been in business for so long they have had crisis before. Coca Cola is a very trusted name and had a very strong population that backed up the Coca Cola name.


Weaknesses: As the Coca Cola problem surfaced so did tons of other food contamination in Belgian. Also Coca Cola had to really be careful because of the outrage of Social Media the Coca Cola scandal reached Facebook and other food blogs very fast. There had been word that Coca Cola was being used in India for cheap pesticides which did not make Coca Cola look very good to the public.


Threats: The main threat for this was Coca Colas reputation and making sure that they did not lose all of their stocks. Good thing is that there were no fatalities or any law suits that would bring the company down fast.


Opportunities: Coca Cola had the chance to reach out and show their love for their fans and the public. They had a very good PR group so this was easy for them to reach out and provide feedback and concern for all of their customers.


Strategies: Coca Cola did many strategies. They put out many statements acknowledging the recall and stating that they were deep cleaning all the plants and all the vending machines. They said that it was “off quality” and they were going to work very hard to go back to the simple ingredients and make their product the quality the people deserve. They threw a Belgian Beach party which promoted that Coca Cola was back and still had the same great taste.


Comments: I feel like Coca Cola did a great job at their crisis. They had a great team and they had a plan in order so they knew what to do and when to do it. They still came out on top and looking good selling the great taste everybody loves!




Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments