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January 10, 2014
Weather Emergencies: Freezing Out the Public Is Wrong
 
We can't let the recent spell of bitter cold weather pass without stressing that people in authority during such times need to be other-focused. The evidence comes from Canada, where cold spells and their crisis communication requirements ought to be second nature. But, sadly, a post on thestar.com indicates otherwise. Surprisingly, the Greater Toronto Airports Authority and Canada Post, Canada's postal service, provide "two stinking examples of how to flub up crisis communications."

Thousands of passengers were stuck at the Toronto airport and thousands more Canadians didn't receive any mail deliveries for two weeks without, in both cases, any information being provided on what was going on. Think about how a bit of information would have helped, and how its absence was appalling. That sums up the challenge, and opportunity, of crisis communications. People in authority need to understand and accept that, whichever side of the border they're on. 

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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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