Micerc a guide for Developing Crisis Communication Plans Office of Public Health Preparedness




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Dispensing Script


Health care professionals are here to answer questions about any medicine prescribed today, and why it was chosen for you. If you receive a 10-day supply of a selected antibiotic to prevent illness, you will also receive information about how to take the medication correctly. For the medicine to effectively prevent illness, you must take the medication as prescribed. DO NOT share your medication with anyone else.

Potential side effects are listed on your patient information sheet along with a 24-hour local public health department hotline you may call with questions, any problems with your medicine or concerns about your medical condition. Please keep this information close at hand.

All services being provided to you today are at no charge.

Thank you for your patience, cooperation and attention.


Source of Medical Recommendations: CDC

Communications Scripts for Public Health Officials’

Use in Case of Radiological Terrorism


The following statement is for use after an incident in which the presence or absence of radiation/radioactive materials has not been determined (<1 hour after incident):

In the interest of public health and safety, the area around the incident site is being monitored and a barrier (is being/has been) established around it. Radioactive material — that is, a substance that emits radiation — may have been released. We are currently monitoring to see if there is a possibility of radiation exposure to anyone within the restricted area. This area is also a crime scene, so the movement of people into and out of the area is being strictly controlled to preserve any evidence that may help (police/FBI/authorities) apprehend those who are responsible. For the time being, only members of the emergency services and local, state, and federal response forces are being allowed inside this area. Every effort is being made to locate and rescue those inside the restricted area. We ask that people not already in the restricted area stay away in case there is a possibility of radiation exposure from this incident and to aid response efforts.

Additional information will be provided as it becomes available. We are urging people to tune to local television or radio stations to receive information as it is released.

The following statement is for use when there is a strong suspicion of radiation exposure to the public and sheltering or evacuation is recommended (within first hours of the incident):


In the interest of public health and safety, the area around the incident site is being monitored and a barrier (is being/has been) established around it. Radioactive material — that is, a substance that emits radiation — (has been/may have been) released; thus, there is a possibility of radiation exposure to anyone within the restricted area. This area is also a crime scene, so the movement of people into and out of the area is being strictly controlled to preserve any evidence that may help (police/FBI/authorities) apprehend those who are responsible. For the time being, only members of the emergency services and local, state, and federal response forces are being allowed inside this area. We ask that people who are not already in the restricted area stay away to reduce the possibility of radiation exposure from this incident, to prevent the spread of contamination, and to avoid hindering response efforts.

Levels of contamination are expected to be highest in the restricted area. However, radioactive material may have been spread or carried downwind, beyond the established boundaries of the restricted area. As a precaution, those living or working in the following areas are advised to (take shelter in . . . OR evacuate [list areas] ). Public health authorities are continuing to monitor the site to determine whether there could be (any risk/ any further risk) to the public.

Additional information will be provided as it becomes available. Please tune to local television or radio stations to receive information as it is released.

The following statement is for use when a release of radioactive material has been confirmed:


A release of radioactive material — that is, a substance that emits radiation — has been detected. The highest levels of contamination are expected to be within the restricted area, which includes the following areas: [list areas]. The restricted area is also a crime scene, so the movement of people into and out of this area is being strictly controlled to preserve any evidence that may help (police/FBI/authorities) apprehend those who are responsible. For the time being, only members of the emergency services, and local, state, and federal response forces are being allowed inside this area. We ask that people who are not already in the restricted area stay away to reduce the possibility of radiation exposure, to prevent the spread of contamination, and to avoid hindering response efforts.

In addition, radioactive material may have been spread or carried downwind, beyond the established boundaries of the restricted area. As a precaution, people located in the following areas are advised to (take shelter in . . .OR evacuate [list areas]).

Public health authorities are continuing to monitor the site to determine the extent of contamination and the risk to the public.

Additional information will be provided as it becomes available. Please tune to local television or radio stations to receive information as it is released.


The following statement is for use after an incident in which CDC and the state and local health departments have determined that there has been a release of significant amounts of radioactive materials. Local authorities will normally issue public health and safety statements advising people of precautions that are necessary to protect against potential exposure to radiation. The following information should be released to people in affected areas as soon as possible after the incident:


Local, state, and federal personnel are responding to the (terrorist/ potential terrorist) attack. In the interest of public health and safety, and to assist emergency rescue teams, people in the following areas should stay inside with doors and windows closed unless advised to do otherwise by the police or other local authorities: (list areas). We are not recommending evacuation at this time because (risk of exposure is greater from going outside than staying inside/the risk of exposure has not yet been determined/etc).

Until the amount of contamination is determined, the following precautionary measures are recommended to minimize risk to the public:

  • Remain inside and keep doors and windows closed.

  • Keep children indoors.

  • Turn off fans, air conditioners, and forced air heating units that bring in fresh air from the outside. Use them only to re-circulate air already in the building.

  • Do not eat fruit or vegetables grown in the area.

  • The inhalation of radioactive material is not an immediate medical emergency. If you do breathe in some air from the outside, don’t panic — it may not be contaminated at the time you breathe it. Remain calm and seek medical attention after you are told that you may leave your home or shelter.

Trained monitoring teams will be moving through the area wearing special protective clothing and equipment to determine the extent of contamination. The use of special clothing and equipment by these workers is precautionary and designed to protect people who are working outdoors in these conditions. You should not interpret it as indicating any special risk to people who are indoors.

If you are outside, go inside the nearest building. Remember that your movement outside could cause you greater exposure and could spread contamination to others. However, if you must go outside for critical or lifesaving activities, cover your nose and mouth, try to avoid stirring up and breathing any dust, and limit your time outside to the shortest amount possible. When you are ready to go back inside, remove your clothing and leave it outside before entering, because it may be contaminated with radioactive dust. Shower or wash exposed areas of skin as soon as you return indoors to remove contamination.

Additional information will be provided as it becomes available. Please tune to local television or radio stations to receive information as it is released. You may also check the Internet at (web site).


Key Messages for Health Officials to Keep in Mind as They Communicate Information About a Radiological Incident

Safety and Health


  • Public health and safety is our first priority, so be empathetic with the concerns of affected communities.

  • Be sure to reiterate that trained local, state, and federal personnel are responding. We are doing everything possible to protect the public.

  • Help people understand why they are asked to stay away from the restricted area. We are trying to ensure their safety, to rescue those who are injured, and to assist those who are evacuating the area.

  • Help people understand that we want to prevent further injuries or loss of life from this incident.

  • Procedures will be established to handle requests for disaster assistance at a later time. Right now our main concerns are public health and safety.

I.Cooperation


  • CDC and the local and state health departments are working closely with all involved local, state, and federal agencies and organizations.

  • Experienced and highly trained specialists with the most advanced equipment are responding to this emergency.

  • We are here to work with the public to answer their questions and concerns.

II.Disclosure


  • CDC is here to work with the local and state health departments in coordinating the initial response to this emergency.

  • We will give you more information as soon as it becomes available to us.

  • We want to answer your questions, but please understand that we do not have all the answers at this time. We are working around the clock with local, state, and federal experts to gather all necessary data so that we can provide the public with the best advice and information possible.


Notes on Radiation and Health Risk for Public Health Officials to Keep in Mind as They Communicate Information About a Radiological Incident


The health effects of radiation exposure depend on the radiation dose received and many other factors, including length of time exposed, distance from the radiation source, and protection such as shelter or clothing worn at the time of exposure. Therefore, an individual’s health risk from radiation exposure from this incident may be highly uncertain.

  • Radiation exposure can have short- and long-term consequences to human health.

  • Time, distance, and shielding can help reduce exposure. Recommend decreasing time of exposure, increasing distance from the source of radiation, and shielding (staying indoors).

  • Until health officials are able to perform dose reconstructions on those who have been exposed, the possible health consequences will not be known.

  • Not everyone exposed to the same dose of radiation will have the same effects from it.

  • Radiation exposure may cause cancer or other adverse health effects in the long term, many years following the exposure, but the risk cannot be determined until a person’s dose is determined.

  • Radiation exposure at very high doses can cause death in the short term, a period of days to months.

  • Children exposed to radiation can be more at risk than adults. Radiation exposure to the unborn child is of special concern.

  • Exposure to radiation, like exposure to the sun, is cumulative.

  • We do not have any special tests to screen for the risk of cancer following exposure to radiation. Existing cancer-screening methods (e.g., mammograms, pap smears, colon cancer tests) are effective and sufficient for screening for radiation-induced cancers.

  • People concerned about developing cancer in the future due to radiation exposure resulting from this incident should see their health care provider.



Appendix B


Contact Lists


The following section includes a variety of crisis contact lists. Contact lists are a central component of any crisis communication plan. They allow crisis communication managers to respond very quickly in a coordinated manner. During a crisis, timely responses can help limit harm and contain damage. Without a comprehensive contact list, your ability to communicate quickly is significantly reduced. You will waste time locating phone numbers and e-mails and some important groups of individuals will be overlooked.


The following contact lists will allow local health departments and responders develop individualized crisis contact lists. It is recommended that individualized lists be developed based on your specific needs and location and that these lists be updated regularly, or at least annually. These lists can also help you begin to make contact with other individuals and agencies that would be involved in a crisis response. In the cases of local media, for example, it is appropriate to contact local newspapers and broadcasters, and explain that you are developing a local media contact list for crises and emergencies. Developing contacts with the media before a crisis can be very helpful during an event.


Your individualized contact list should include phone numbers (cell, fax, voice), e-mail, web and street address. It may be necessary, for example, for you to provide driving instructions to third parties. It is also recommended that you maintain your contact lists and your entire crisis communication plan in both hard copy and electronic form. In the case of power outages for example, electronic resources may not be available.





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