First Response and Planning Resources


Customize Materials. You will need to customize materials with information about your agency or location, and real-time details about the emergency situation.

Work with your PIO. Always work with your assigned public information staff on communication issues.

Not required. Use of these materials is not required. They were developed as resources to help in public health emergency planning and response. Always consult your agency's emergency plans and policies, and follow appropriate Incident Command System procedures.

Questions? We will continue to add resources to this site as they are developed. Please direct questions regarding this site or emergency communication resources to

Links to Other Sites

The checklists and materials in this section were designed to help you with pre-event planning and prioritizing communications activities during the first crucial hours of a public health emergency.

  • Phases and steps of the emergency risk communications process
    Overview of the things to consider before, during and after emergency events.
  • Initial response
    This template offers tips and sample language for responding to an emerging crisis before confirmation is received or all details are known. Although geared toward media response, they can be adapted for public inquiries as well.
  • Initial checklist
    After verification of a biological agent or health threat, this checklist will help you prioritize questions, contact partners and begin developing your first messages for the media and the public.
  • Event checklist
    Questions to be asked by the communications team during the first hours of an emergency situation.

Sample assignment checklists
Sample checklists for different communications functions and efforts. These are designed to help you understand critical communications functions. Always work with your assigned public information staff or emergency response partners.

Things to do before an emergency
There are things you can do now to prepare for emergency situations; this list will help.

Source: Many of these worksheets were adapted from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Emergency Risk Communication materials.