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September 8, 2011
As the Waters Rise, Email to the Rescue
Jo Ellen Litz, a county commissioner in Lebanon County, Pa., is an inveterate email communicator. She dashes off e-mails on almost anything connected with county government, at least as much to advance communication efficiency as her own political standing. Now, with flood waters cresting along Lebanon County's creeks, Jo Ellen (second from left in the accompanying photo) is demonstrating the crisis communication value of a lengthy email list. The municipal building is closed for the day, and Jo Ellen finds herself as something of the county's communication hub, at least for those on her email list. She has sent out dozens of them in the past few days, all with timely information, such as that the county's 911 operators have answered over 4,500 calls in the past day, where people can shelter, and that the Swatara Creek will crest at 6 p.m. at 23.31 feet.

Good job Jo Ellen, and email!

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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