Terrorism: Seven Starter Steps to Prepare Against the Unthinkable

According to a recent CNN report, the Department of Homeland Security confirmed that attempted terrorist attacks against the United States are at an all-time high.  The department’s May 21 report obtained by CNN also indicates that terrorists are looking for “smaller, more achievable attacks against easily accessible targets.”

Scary.  A word to the wise:  “If You See Something, Say Something.”

Also scary times for U.S. businesses.

Experts who focus on emergencies and disasters have already weighed in with recommended actions.   

It’s a  similar clarion call for corporate communicators to prepare, now, before an attack strikes the heart of a company’s operations.  Here’s a good start of recommended actions:

1.  Align corporate communications with security, safety and business continuity functions

  • Update and communicate revised mailroom and building security procedures
  • Refresh emergency contacts

2.  Update a  list of related worst-case scenarios and recovery plans with remedial measures to help reassure key audiences

  • Determine if products/brands are particularly subject to anti-American sentiment and build specific plans to address an attack
  • Ensure that cyber-terrorism or data integrity lapses are also considered

3.  Assess whether policies/procedures need to be revisited (e.g., evaluate the security of the CEO and other key executives)

4.  Consider if there are increased risks of racial or religious tensions inside the company and how this would be addressed if secondary incidents occur

5.  Determine if business operations raise any safety/security implications for the local community

6.  Plan for the management of false alarms, red herrings and copycat incidents

7.  Forecast “overreactions” by the public on the perception of your relative safety/security

There are probably dozens of other suggestions for corporate communicators to begin planning against such horrific circumstances.  I’d like to hear your thoughts.  Please share them in the comments below.

4 thoughts on “Terrorism: Seven Starter Steps to Prepare Against the Unthinkable”

  1. Don't forget employees who travel or live overseas. They may also be vulnerable to attacks. It's important that they understand how to blend in with the local culture and be able to recognize potential threats. Travel safety and security training, like that offered by those who have years of experience dealing with hazardous situations abroad like Escape the Wolf, is a good alternative to post-event crisis communications.

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