Get Your Crisis Communication Team in Place, ASAP!
The best time to get a crisis communications team together is not after the emergency has begun. The critical step pre-identifying and training needs to be handled well before. Because it’s so important, this cannot be a group of hastily put together individuals, but the team needs to contain those who have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities. In addition, I would encourage you to groom individuals that might have a natural inclination for this type work.
Remember, that just because someone does a task day-to-day, does not necessarily mean that they are the best fit for the role during a crisis. Your in-house PR representative might not have the knowledge, skills, or abilities required to handle his/her job, but put that same person in a crisis, they may fall apart. The good news is that with a little bit of coaching, and training, these issues can often be fixed; If not, someone else should be tapped and equipped to do the job during an emergency. The skill sets before and during an emergency may be similar, but emergencies require a specific set of skills.