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Communicating in a Crisis:

Risk Communication Guidelines for Public Officials, 2002


Table of Contents

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Administrator's Message


Communications Fundamentals

Communicating Complex, Scientific, and Technical Information

Myths, Principles, and Pitfalls

Understanding and Working with the Media

Correcting Errors and Rumor Control

Assessing Personal Strengths and Weaknesses

Presenting Information at Public Meetings

Recognizing Opportunities to Speak Out

Suggested Reading and Resources


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Communicating effectively during a crisis takes planning; preparation; an understanding of communications protocols, messaging and the media; and the ability to manage the flow of information. Each is a challenge that can be met effectively, to the benefit of those receiving messages in times of crisis.

Communicating in a Crisis: Risk Communications Guidelines for Public Officials is a brief, readable primer that can help you do just that.  It describes basic skills and techniques for clear, effective crisis communications and information dissemination, and provides some of the tools of the trade for media relations. It can help you prepare for meeting the important responsibility of communicating with the public both directly and successfully during a crisis.

Additional free copies of this volume (SMA02-3641 Communicating in a Crisis: Risk Communication Guidelines for Public Officials) can be ordered online from SAMHSA’s Health Information Network, or call 1-877-SAMHSA-7.

For a complete publication, call SAMHSA's National Mental Health Information Center:

    *      800-789-2647

    *      888-889-2647 TTY

    *      301-984-8796 FAX

This page was last updated on  06 November, 2002
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