I doubt there are very many young people who say I really want a career in crisis communication. I certainly didn't start that way and like most of the incredible professionals I've gotten to know in this field got to be crisis or emergency communication professionals by accident. Often, by a real accident.
The critical moment for me was just ten years ago, June 10, 1999. That's when a large gasoline pipeline from the four refineries in our area blew up, killing two boys and a young man. I was immediately called into action because I was a public relations contractor for the company managing the line--having been called into help with them after an industrial accident a year earlier with six fatalities.
It was almost literally trial by fire. I learned about ICS (now NIMS) and JICs and all the jargon and acronyms emergency response is famous for. Mostly I learned what the instant news environment was like. It was not a pretty picture. How in the world can organizations keep pace with the way news--in particular bad news--travels today? And if it was instant ten years ago, it has gotten to be nano-instant now. Out of this I created a web-based crisis communication system that has become the industry standard for emergency response communications and still the only Virtual JIC solution. I wrote a book that has been very well received in crisis communications circles called "Now Is Too Late: Survival in an Era of Instant News." And I started a blog called "Crisisblogger."
Being invited to blog for Emergency Management is an honor and a privilege. In the past ten years I have been extremely fortunate to work directly with some of the very best in this business of public affairs, crisis communication and emergency response communications. Communicators and executives from large federal agencies like the US Coast Guard to major oil companies, universities, Departments of Emergency Management, non-profits like the American Red Cross and many others. One thing I know for certain--I don't have the answers, but the experts I work with probably do. It will be my job here as I understand to take the best of their thinking, their strategies and approaches, their use of the best technologies and apply them to the rapidly changing world of crisis and emergency response communications. As such, I'm a conduit and a conduit is only as good as the juice flowing through it. So I hope to hear from you, learn from you and share what I have learned with others.
Let's get acquainted.