UPS’ response to shootings highlights importance of crisis planning

After deadly gunfire by an employee, the organization issued a response that confirmed facts and offered both condolences and counseling services. Here’s what PR pros should keep in mind.

Though you hope a tragic event never affects your organization, PR pros must always be prepared for the worst.

On Wednesday, a gun-wielding UPS employee opened fire in one of the company’s sorting hubs in San Francisco, killing three and injuring two more before taking his own life.

The shooting took place at 8:55 a.m. Pacific time in the city’s Potrero Hill neighborhood. By 11:05 a.m., UPS issued the following tweet:

The company’s statement confirmed facts that local law enforcement officials had shared and offered the following:

The company is saddened and deeply concerned about affected employees, family members and the community we share. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those touched by this incident. To assist our employees during this time, UPS has made professional counseling available.

As heartbreaking and tragic as these events are, it’s a reminder that in times like these, the work of communication professionals is at its most crucial.

It’s also a reminder that if you don’t already have a crisis communications plan in place, take the time to put one together. If you do have one, it might be time to dust it off and revisit your process. Make sure you’ve accounted for employees that have moved on from your organization and that your crisis plan is current, reflecting industry best practices.

When disaster strikes, a proper communications strategy can empower your employees, help you respond quickly and assist you in answering questions, concerns and criticism on social platforms.

It can also help you to function separately from heightened emotions and convey your organization’s message when striking the appropriate is essential.

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