The Situation: Crisis plans, emergency drills, crisis management, media training and crisis response training do pay off! A chemical group experienced three newsworthy events within a short timeframe. The third event involved an ammonia release that resulted in the “shelter in place” of more than 42,000 residents. A major part of a community was shut down and many businesses within a large industrial area were also impacted. The plant site is located near major shipping lanes and interstate highways. We had worked with this client for many years: we helped them improve their crisis plans, tested their plans with crisis drills, upgraded their media kits, helped them create and implement stakeholder engagement programs, assisted with media relations / outreach, Responsible Care initiatives and more. We also trained their management team in crisis management strategies and equipped their spokespersons and frontline employees with crisis communications and media skills.
The Results: Obviously, a third event impacting more than 42,000 people could have been devastating to the reputation and goodwill earned by this organization. However, the chemical group was able to respond quickly to ensure the safety of the community and employees. Dozens of media organizations made it to the area within a short time to cover this “lead” story and some national media also carried the story. Our team was on site to help the company implement its crisis plans and assist with media and stakeholder needs. Thanks to solid crisis planning and the goodwill this company had established with its stakeholders, the mayor and director of emergency services both participated in media interviews and praised the chemical group for their quick actions and effective, transparent communications. The media coverage was short in duration and the organization was able to resume normal operations.