On the Importance of Updating Your Crisis Communications Plan

Thom Weidlich 10.18.18


A crisis communications plan isn’t very useful if it isn’t up to date. Reporters and their mobile phone numbers, internal contacts for gathering information, and even statement templates — all must be reviewed and updated.

At least one member of the team should be assigned to oversee the plan upkeep. A list should be included in the crisis communications plan to remind that person of each part that needs to be reviewed and how often that review should be conducted. (One of the advantages of using CrisisResponsePro is the ability to have the plan at one’s fingertips, and constantly revised, rather than collecting dust on a shelf somewhere.)

Several types of information need to be addressed. In fact, it’s difficult to think of any aspect of your plan you wouldn’t want to review and renew at least annually, and probably quarterly. Your plan likely contains a preamble on the company’s philosophy and why it has a crisis communications plan to begin with. That — andeven your list of plan parts to be updated — should be updated.

One important type of information to be refreshed is the people assigned to various tasks related to crisis response. After all, people don’t stay with one employer forever. The plan needs to be updated to reflect that, especially if the departing party is a key member of the crisis team.

Another area is strategic: As you train your staff in your crisis plan, you will discover flaws in the plan itself. Correcting those flaws must be reflected in the plan. The training may show you that you need to reassign some duties of crisis team members. Those duties and tasks may change for other reasons, too. These areas include gathering facts, monitoring the media, contacting the media, uploading content to the website, and coordinating with legal advisers.

Here are some other areas you’ll want to update:

  • The crisis scenarios your organization faces,
  • Statement templates,
  • Training dates,
  • Command-center locations,
  • Media-center locations, and
  • Social-media accounts.

In addition, a big part of updating a crisis communications plan is updating its contact lists: media, emergency responders, trauma counselors, call-center vendor, legal advisers, public relations advisers, and constituents (government officials, vendors, etc.).

After all, in the middle of a crisis, you don’t want to start calling around to important sources, only to discover that the information was outdated ages ago. That’s a crisis in and of itself.

Image Credit: 4zevar/Shutterstock

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