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Crisis and Risk Communication

Crisis and Risk Communication

Because a natural disaster, act of terrorism or other public emergency can happen without notice, having a planned, coordinated communication effort is necessary to help alleviate public anxiety during times of uncertainty.

The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) helps prepare government agencies and organizations manage the communication aspects of emergency response. Whether this involves creating crisis communication plans or analyzing training needs, ORISE develops and delivers the instruction needed to ensure that spokespersons are prepared to provide clear and consistent information during an emergency. This includes how local, state and federal emergency agencies should communicate among themselves, to the public and to their stakeholders.

ORISE has trained thousands in the communications skills required to address low-trust, high-concern issues such as transportation of radioactive materials, occupational exposures, and other emergency-related events.

In support of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Oak Ridge Office (ORO), ORISE provides crisis and risk communication support through the management of its Joint Information Center (JIC) facility. The JIC brings together qualified and informed spokespersons to provide answers to stakeholders and the media during an emergency. ORISE provides 24/7 facilities management support and serves as public information officer advisors as part of the JIC framework for emergency exercises and actual events.

ORISE also coordinates DOE’s Emergency Public Information (EPI) Subcommittee—part of the Emergency Management Issues Special Interest Group—to promote the exchange of resources and lessons learned. The EPI subcommittee focuses on integrating EPI and emergency management systems at DOE headquarters and in the field.