Table of Contents
Scope of the Communications Plan
The Communications AG Plan focuses on the protocols necessary for sharing true and valid information regarding the economic disruption, to all residents in the community. This group will ensure that all community partners are sharing the same message and communicating in a manner that is not contradictory and causing confusion throughout the region. The Communications AG will work closely with the RDKB Emergency Management team to ensure that the information being shared is current and accurate before being dispersed into the community. Community Futures Greater Trail will be in charge of updating this information on the new regional disaster website at www.BizDAP.ca
AG Plan Lead and Committee Members
AG Lead: Community Futures Greater Trail
- Trail and District Chamber of Commerce
- Tourism Rossland
- City of Trail
- Teck Metals Ltd.
Additional Support Organizations:
- Local radio stations (The GOAT Castlegar, Bounce FM Trail, CBC Radio)
- Local Print Media (Trail Daily Times, Trail Champion)
- Local Digital News (Trail Champion, Rossland Telegraph, My Kootenay Now)
- Local communications consultants
- Social media consultants
Incident Quick Start Checklist
- Convene the AG committee.
- Assign Communications Liaison to work with the RDKB EOC Information Branch, if established.
- Reach out to local elected and community leaders to implement communication protocols about the local economy.
- Recruit or identify and assign News and Social Media Coordinator to collect information from news reports, social media posts, etc. and begin to vet it as true or false with relevant authorities.
- Establish communications tools for communicating with businesses and the public (e.g., website, social media platforms, phone lines, etc.)
- Identify a media spokesperson for the economic response and recovery.
Inventory of Existing Programs and Assets for Communications
There are several existing organizations that can provide expertise and capacity for communications to area businesses during a period of economic hardship.
- The Trail and District Chamber of Commerce and Community Futures Greater Trail, both have newsletters that frequently go out to the Trail and area business community.
- Local non-profit business support groups and local government have client lists, newsletters, websites, and social media channels that could also help share information.
- Both the RDKB (Vivienne Hurley) and the City of Trail (Andrea Jolly) have full-time communications staff resources. Both organizations have experience and can provide support, templates, and other tools to facilitate communication to the business community. Some of the types of support that may be provided may include:
- Access to templates for information bulletins, press releases, etc.
- The RDKB has an emergency communications plan.
- Social media templates.
- The Kootenay Boundary Farm Advisors program has a contact list for reaching area agricultural producers.
- Local media organizations such as print media and radio can support efforts (i.e., Bounce Radio -Trail and The GOAT – Castlegar)
- Local print companies such as the Trail Daily Times, Trail Champion, Rossland Telegraph and Rossland Record have significant outreach.
- Local municipalities and the regional district can also share information (and the RDKB has a stand-alone Emergency Info website). https://emergency.rdkb.com
Action Plan for Future Preparation and Mitigation Activities
This section lists recommendations made by the Communications Action Group, that can be developed in advance of an emergency. Templates with predetermine verbiage for crisis communications cab be constructed before an actual disaster occurs, to ensure a quick delivery.
- Community Futures is proposing to develop a website for business community resilience. The website would be a one-stop-shop for information about preparing for disasters, and what to do when one occurs. This website will also serve as a central hub when disaster strikes and act as the single point of information for area businesses. The website link is BizDAP.ca
- Having a current media contact list readily available would also be helpful in case of an emergency.
- Conduct an audit / inventory of local professionals with in-depth communications skills and experience, especially in crisis communication.
- Create common branding materials so that consistent visuals are being used to disperse emergency information. This will make is easy to identify information that was approved by the proper channels.
- Develop social media strategy (using common branding) for crisis communications. This can also be shared through other local community partners’ social media platforms.
- Determine ways to identify and dispel rumours. Brief politicians and key community leaders on emergency messaging.
Typical Communications Response and Recovery Activities
The following are typical Communications response and recovery activities during and after economic disruption
- Provide daily briefings to the press on economic impacts and the pace of economic recovery.
- Set up a hotline, website, or resource guide that is updated with new information and resources for economic recovery.
- Use a central point of contact for providing information to area businesses, such as the regional disaster website at BizDAP.ca
- Scan social media sites to determine where rumors are being spread and correct these allocations at the next daily briefing.
- Craft messaging around reopening businesses and make the “Open for Business” announcement, when appropriate.
- Ensure that any “Open for Business” announcements first consider those businesses that have been impacted the most, and are not quite ready to re-open because of extensive damages. Make sure that other options are readily available to them, such as temporary business locations.