CommCore Blog and News

Asking “How did we do?” helps Texas improve crisis response from Ebola to Zika

When local, state and federal authorities faced the nation’s first confirmed Ebola outbreak in Dallas in 2014, reviews of their response were harsh:
  • Bungled protocols at Texas Presbyterian Hospital, site of the original infection
  • Conflicting public messages from hospital, county, state and federal government authorities
  • Lack of overall preparedness and coordination
A key tenet of good crisis planning is conducting a thorough post-crisis assessment of “lessons learned” – aka “How did we do?”
If the current Zika virus nationwide “scarier than ever” call-to-arms from the CDC is any indication, it would appear that officials in Dallas and throughout Texas are on the right track this time. Texas city, county and state officials have been moving in lock-step both operationally and from a communications standpoint:
  • Updated virus testing equipment is ready
  • Mosquito abatement sprayings have been moved up
  • A proactive advertising and PR campaign – coordinated with state and federal authorities -has been launched to inform the public
  • Improved coordination with health officials in Mexico
There is a natural tendency to “restore order” after a crisis without conducting the necessary analysis and making corrections to policies and procedures. So far, Texas officials seem to be setting a model for other organizations and companies on how to prepare for the next “big one.” Among CommCore’s recommendations to prepare for the next crisis:
  • Pull entire crisis team together for “post mortem”
  • Don’t be polite in conducting a plus/minus/delta analysis
  • Know that there will be a next time
  • Improve:
    1. Processes
    2. Spokesperson training
    3. Designated trained crisis spokespersons
    4. Social media monitoring and engagement