Creating a Crisis-Ready Emergency
Notification Policy

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Member Exclusive

Virginia Tech had two contradictory emergency notification policies, which stalled efforts the day of the massacre. What does your emergency notification policy need to include?

When the state of Virginia provided its update on the official report on the Virginia Tech massacre, correcting factual errors and revealing details about breakdowns in emergency communications on the day of the crisis, the report found that the campus had two contradictory emergency notification policies, which stalled efforts the day of the crisis.

We asked Cindy Lawson -- assistant to the chancellor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and one of the leading experts on crisis communications -- to speak to what lessons could be learned from the updated report. "Hindsight is great," Lawson cautions, "and when crises happen at other institutions, it's important for all of us to learn not just from real or perceived mistakes but also from their successes." That said, the Virginia Tech incident offers an effective lesson in the importance of having a clear emergency notification policy.


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