Yet communicators must find ways to pull off what almost nobody else can do: communicate.
Hurricane Sandy, which slammed into the Eastern Seaboard on Monday, forced organizations to find ways to check in on employees and let them know changes in work schedules.
“The trick in emergency comms is that most of the tools are electronic,” says Sean Williams, owner of Communication Ammo. “So, you can’t do email, cell phones run out of juice, and the media is distracted.”
Hyatt, the Chicago-based hotel company, was forced to relocate guests and staff from its Andaz Wall Street site when New York City imposed a mandatory evacuation of parts of lower Manhattan, says Katie Rackoff, director of corporate communications. It has seen intermittent power outages elsewhere and is continuing to monitor the storm.
Hyatt uses several means of communicating with staff and guests, depending on the impact to the hotel. For guests, Hyatt also has an 800 line and an email address, and they can tweet @HyattConcierge.