Emergency Response Plan for Public Relations Unit
Through consultation with COPLAC schools and other institutions of higher learning similar to Montevallo, the Public Relations staff was advised to keep its crisis response plan simple and to use the web as a primary line of communication. With that in mind, the following plan was developed in fall 2009 and will be updated as needed.
The Will Lyman House (720 Oak St.) will become the media hub for the campus during an emergency and will serve as headquarters for P.R. responders.
Three of the four members of the Public Relations staff have high-speed Internet connectivity at home (and also via smart phones) and therefore will be able to communicate with various constituencies from virtually any location via the web and email. Communication will be maintained through the use of the web, e-mail, telephone and the media, depending upon the continued availability of each of these options. James Bessette, acting director of public relations, will handle coordination of this area of response. Alternate responders will be Diane Kennedy-Jackson, public relations assistant, Tiffany Bunt, graphics specialist, and Marsha Littleton, departmental secretary, respectively. The UM website can be updated remotely by the P.R. staff; therefore, updated information may be disseminated from this medium almost immediately. If the University is closed, a message on the office’s answering machine will direct inquiries to responders’ home land lines or cell phones and to the web.
Updated media telephone lists and contacts (with appropriate codes and passwords) have been given to all staff members to take home. Copies are also on file in the office.
P.R. staff members have met to discuss this plan and to go through each area of responsibility.
The UM P.R. Office will work closely with the campus Police Department to assist in carrying out its Safety and Security Plan, as needed.
In summary, the Public Relations staff believes that effective communication will be a necessary component in successfully responding to any type of emergency. Obtaining accurate, timely information from appropriate sources (and disseminating it promptly) will be a priority of the staff.