Emergency Communications Toolkit

The resources on this site are intended for public health and emergency response partners only. Resources for the public can be found on our Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response (PHEPR) site.

This toolkit was created to help you during a disease outbreak, natural disaster or other public health emergency. These templates, checklists and fact sheets are designed to give you a head start when planning an emergency response.

Resources on this website were developed by the Washington State Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or other trusted federal and local public health partners.

Important: You will need to customize materials with information about your agency or location, and real-time details about the emergency situation. Always work with your assigned public information staff on communication issues.

Initial response

These communication resources will help you decide which first steps to take when an emergency, attack or outbreak occurs. These checklists and materials are designed to help you make decisions and establish priorities. Use these resources as part of pre-event planning, and during the chaotic first hours of an emergency.

News releases

These sample draft news releases are designed to help you develop a quick response during the crucial first hours of a crisis. The news release templates must be customized with details specific to your agency and the current situation. Coordinate all news releases with your assigned public information staff and follow your agency's emergency communications procedures.

Specific emergencies

These tools have been developed to help you provide information to the public during a disease outbreak or bioterrorism attack. Included are fact sheets, sample news releases and other information.

Medication centers and health care centers

These materials were developed for use in medication centers (points of dispensing - PODs) and health care centers (alternate care facilities). Customizing resources now will help save valuable time in an emergency. This section includes a fact sheets and other patient education materials to use them during an emergency.

Risk communication training

The Washington State Department of Health and a network of local public health emergency communication liaisons offer risk communication training for local health jurisdictions and emergency preparedness partners. Topics include leadership and staff training, mass prophylaxis campaign issues, emergency communication skills for volunteers, and other emergency communication issues. For more information, please contact DOH.Information@doh.wa.gov

Just in time communications training for Medication Centers (PODS) and Health Care Centers (Alternate Care Facilities)

A proactive communication strategy can help empower people to better cope with the emergency situation. These Just In Time Training sheets were designed to give staff working in centers quick tips and tools to help with communications issues.

Multicultural outreach

Washington Multicultural Communications Directory

Working with Ethnic Media Toolkit

Resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Communicating in the First Hours Web site. Fact sheets, templates, B-roll footage and more resources for use in the first hours of an emergency from the CDC.

CDC List of Materials. Alphabetical list of diseases and emergencies with Podcasts, scripts, fact sheets and other materials.

Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication course. This course was designed for those who will perform crisis and risk communication and media relations in the event of a public health emergency. Course materials.

Special Populations Assessment Tool. May help you identify those groups of individuals who require differing messages from the general public information message or who can not be reached through mass communication channels from the CDC.

Coping with Stress. Helping victims of emergencies cope with the accompanying stress.

View other resources and links to more information.

These links to other sites and resources offer additional information and tools for you to use before, during and after an emergency.