Nusura helps large organization with crisis communication, comprehensive planning, and training

Aerial view of nuclear power plant on Hutchinson Island, Florida.

Nusura helps large-scale organization address gaps in crisis communication planning and develop comprehensive plans, training and exercises to address them.

Following several high-profile crises, a government-owned agency who serves over 9 million people in the areas of energy provision, environmental stewardship and economic development turned to Nusura to assist them with updating and enhancing the organization’s crisis communications planning, training and exercises.

Through stakeholder-driven interviews and planning workshops, the client worked with Nusura’s subject matter experts to identify gaps in crisis communication planning and develop a Crisis Communications Plan that included Joint Information Center processes and protocols. Upon completion of the plan, Nusura subject matter experts also developed and delivered workshops, trainings, and exercises for the corporate communications team and emergency management personnel, as well as executive leadership. SimulationDeck was utilized in many of these exercises to provide the most realistic experience possible in an exercise setting. Nusura also provided crisis communications support and counsel to the client during real-world, high profile events, including an active-shooter incident near one of their office complexes and a potential threat to one of their facilities in the form of an unidentified, suspicious package. Both incidents garnered national media attention and required a full-scale communications response.

As a result of Nusura’s work the client now has an updated crisis communications plan that is consistent with NIMS and in accord with agency emergency response plans and protocols, as well as an enhanced, more realistic training and exercise program. These serve as the backbone of communications response in crises and emergencies both large and small, and have prompted enterprise-wide discussions and collaborative work towards improving crisis mitigation and response.

  • The Challenge

    This client organization is a government-owned agency with three regional focus areas: provision of energy, environmental stewardship and economic development. Their service area encompasses more than 80,000 square miles spanning seven states. With such a large geographic footprint and broad range of services, the client has complex communications needs, including frequent crisis and emergency communication challenges.

    In 2013, following several high-profile crises, the client prioritized updates and enhancement of the organization’s crisis communications planning, training and exercises. They needed a more robust and realistic means of training the communications team to effectively manage various crises and emergencies. The client recognized Nusura’s unique blend of emergency management and communications expertise, coupled with the realism that SimulationDeck would bring to exercises. The client contracted Nusura to develop effective emergency and crisis communications response plans and create a training program to help improve the crisis response team’s efforts in an emergency.

They needed a more robust and realistic means of training the communications team to effectively manage various crises and emergencies.

  • The Approach

    Through stakeholder-driven interviews and planning workshops, the client worked with Nusura’s subject matter experts to identify gaps in crisis communication planning and develop a crisis communications plan that included Joint Information Center processes and protocols. Upon completion of the plan, subject matter experts also developed and delivered workshops, trainings, and exercises for the corporate communications team and emergency management personnel, as well as executive leadership. SimulationDeck was utilized in many of these exercises to provide the most realistic experience possible in an exercise setting.

    As part of its contract, Nusura also provided crisis response support in the event of real-world incidents. For example, the Nusura team designed and facilitated an active shooter tabletop exercise to test and validate the Crisis Communications Plan. Members of the corporate communications team were joined by representatives from the client’s Emergency Management Office to discuss how the organization would respond to an active shooter within the client’s Headquarters Complex. Two hours into the exercise, the discussion was interrupted by a real-world crisis. The exercise was put on hold while Nusura subject matter experts helped the communications team respond to the incident, using the Crisis Communications Plan to guide the organization’s actions.

    After the crisis was resolved, our team facilitated after-action discussions, validating the Crisis Communications Plan, identifying lessons learned, and helping the communications team consider corrective actions. The talking points and strategic counsel developed during this event led the client to consult Nusura during subsequent situations with critical public sentiment issues.

  • The Results

    As a result of Nusura’s work, the client now has:

     - A comprehensive Crisis Communications Plan that is consistent with NIMS and in accord with agency emergency response plans and protocols. This plan has been used as the backbone of communications response in multiple real-world crises and emergencies and has prompted enterprise-wide discussions and collaborative work towards improving crisis mitigation and response. Nusura helps update this plan regularly based on lessons learned in real events and exercises.

    - Strengthened working relationships within the client organization, as training and exercises have been inclusive of all business units and have prompted further discussion of how offices can work more collaboratively in crises of any kind.

    - A comprehensive training and exercise program to ensure communications staff are ready to respond in the event of a crisis or emergency which is updated regularly based on new lessons learned.

    - Enhanced, more realistic exercises for the entire enterprise. The client’s emergency management personnel were so impressed with the realism that SimulationDeck brings to exercises, that they have begun using it for various types of exercises they plan for the entire organization.

    Nusura is continuing to provide ongoing training and exercise, and real-world crisis response support.

THE CLIENT'S PERSPECTIVE

Members of the corporate communications and emergency management teams who have participated in Nusura led training and exercises have voiced their praise of the realism and effectives of training provided by Nusura. One 25+ year team member noted that for the first time in her career, she had found training not only enjoyable, but realistic and truly useful in helping her address her job responsibilities.

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