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Implementation of the Risk Communication Plan

Following the reported deaths of a huge selection of birds in Esperance in Western Australian between December 2006 and March 2007, it was found out that lead being transported through the town's port were accountable for their deaths. However, a lot of the community was unacquainted with this until it became public as part of the investigation into bird deaths in the local environment. Esperance saw itself as an idyllic rural community, with a sound monetary basis, but removed from the problems associated with cities, such as pollution. Once the lead problem was identified, residents became very worried about their children's health and demanded immediate action.

In order to handle the concerns of the afflicted parties, a risk communication plan is vital so as the risk assessment team can improve risk understanding among target groups, disclose information about hazards to the people whom might be exposed, legitimise risk-related decisions and only acceptance or rejection of specific risk sources. It also gets the role to breakdown the risk management process to the prospective audience so that assessors can build-up trust in the risk fairness of the management process while at the same making certain there is enough individual risk reduction information to improve public protection. Finally the chance communication plan promotes support on the communicating agency as it provides guidelines for emergency situations and educates decision-makers about public concerns and perceptions. (Sue Lang, Lorna Fewtrell and Jamie Bartram, 2001, p. 320)

There are multiple stakeholders involved with this crisis, you start with the residents of the city, governmental departments such as the department of water, environment and planning, local businesses, the companies exporting the metals, the port authorities and media.

A risk communication (RC) needs assessment was run prior to be able to identify the major stakeholders involved in the in this crisis and identify the issues of concerns of for each group, the goals from the interaction with each group and also choose and enough technique of approach to each type of stakeholder. The RC needs assessment had led to recognize that various stakeholders had different issues of interests and concerns and this whether their concerns were, the techniques of approach to them may overlap. The main element stakeholders were recognized to be the residents of Esperence, health department, water department, port authorities, tourism operators, business owners, the media, local authorities and department of environment, municipality and department of planning.

The key issues noted through the assessment were the chance to the fitness of the residents, risks to local businesses such as tourism, relocation of locals, and panic within the city due to health hazards.

The table below identifies the issues that meant to be addressed in a risk communication plan and how they are connect to the plan's goal alongside the activities needed to be carried out so as to reach the goals. It should also be noted that descending order of the issues representative of the priority directed at every individual issue. (R Brian Pickard, Risk Communication Plan Guidance, 2013 p. 24)




Local residents' concerns about the hazards

Provide the residents necessary and satisfactory information to handle their concerns

Provide information to the residents by activities such as distributing home elevators physical or electrical mediums.

Develop and maintain relationships and supports two-way communication with public community groups, and the news media.

Concerns of medical department regarding crisis

Provide them with the outreach of the crisis; just how many people are influenced also to which extent.

Maintain direct communication for health people via phone, email or in person. In order that they received necessary information as they require it.

Level of information between assessors and Department of water

Share findings obtain through research to concerned department so it knows where they stand and how they can mitigate the situation

Ensure that they receive tangible information in terms of documents and findings which they can talk to and base action plan upon

Concerns about treat to local businesses.

Assess impact of contamination on local businesses.

Hold meeting with the concerned stakeholders and discuss ways where they are really being damaged and try find solutions.

Department of planning

Provide the department expected outcomes in case of an imminent crisis

Ensure that they receive tangible information in terms of documents and findings that they can seek advice from and base action plan upon

Nature and types of information released by the media

Audit the quality of information being released to the press.

Monitoring of information released through various media outlets; websites, newspapers, tv set and radio by appointing media trackers

Threat to port activities and jobs at stake

Assess situation and discover possible links between issues and port. Minimize potential threat of activities shutdown.

Meet with responsible of activities and discuss

Communication at all stages of the program is important. People have to be informed about key developments so they will be in a position to make the almost all of this program. Information should be disclosed to community members throughout the program, especially prior to starting key activities, prior to making changes to this program and upon encountering delays. The order/timing where information is disclosed to the various stakeholders depends upon who they represent in the community and the value of the feedback so that when a wider public is informed, the chance assessment plan was already revised compared to that it understood by a lot of the stakeholders.

The resources to be deployed for the chance communication plan relies greatly on the budget assigned to the assessment. While a great area of the resources remain man power which favors easier communication, builds up trust among the city, provides for skills for data collection and analysis depending after the budget communication methods such as media and dedicated can employed, else inexpensive methods inexpensive, such as sharing information at community meetings, working with community and committees creating simple posters can be utilized. ,

There are various challenges that might hinder the implementation of the; unwillingness for stakeholders to cooperate, coordinate risk communication messages among multiple communicators who are communicating a comparable issue or time constraints. (Cabinet Implementation Unit Toolkit, 2013, p. 3).

The roles and responsibilities in order to implement the chance communication plan appropriately are as the following.



Public Information Officer

  • Implement risk communication plan and directs information disclosure
  • Provide information to stakeholder through various mediums
  • Create and uphold two conversation between all stakeholders
  • . Maintains current information summaries and/or displays on the incident.
  • Responsible to communicate information to pertinent staff
  • Develop presentations for utility executives
  • Prepare responses to constituent inquiries.

Content and Message Coordinator

  • Develops pathways to get information rapidly from various institutes regarding public health emergencies and works with available subject matter experts to build situation-specific fact sheets and updates.

Media Coordinator


  • Assesses media needs (e. g. , briefings, statements) and bridges the gap between your public and sources

Direct Public Outreach Coordinator

  • Responsible for public service announcement and initiates telephone information line

Partner/Stakeholder Coordinator

  • Sets up communication protocols predicated on agreements with recognized partners and stakeholders.

Media Tracker

  • Monitors available internally and externally identifies misinformation, provides, assess the quality of communication, takes action to amend wrong information, tracks pr announcements, monitors news outlets and internet sites, and drives away (stories that may or might not exactly be true)
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