How you handle your company's communication after a crisis can determine whether your company will recover its profitability and reputation. If you don't tell the media your side of the story quickly, someone else will tell it for you--and they probably won't tell it correctly or with your best interest in mind. For this reason, it is important to create a plan for organized communication during and after an incident.
Successful crisis communication depends on a quick response. Companies should implement a "to do" list immediately when a crisis occurs. This list should include: an outline of duties and who in your company will be responsible for each; a list of people and agencies to notify and their phone numbers; information on your company for the media; tips on interviews and crisis handling; and a company contact person. Be sure that everyone knows where the crisis plan is stored, and keep several on hand.
Other important steps to take when crisis strikes include: designating a spokesperson, reviewing crisis procedures with staff, interviewing everyone witnessing the accident, saying to the media only what you know with certainty, preparing a written statement, and talking to reporters.