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Gaining Crisis Experience Starting Now (No Experience Needed)

There are a lot of places to get crisis experience and experience in the real world of crisis is essential to have the credibility to speed up access to the practice of crisis management. Crisis Management is currently the most sought-after area of public relations practice; and even though colleges are offering degrees in crisis management, real life experience is a prerequisite to practice.

Here are some suggestions you might consider starting to build you experience:

  1. “Depending on one’s social beliefs and personal capabilities, joining the military, police services, fire services (any first responder org. really), International Red Cross, or UN High Commission for Refugees, etc., are good places to gain necessary experience and credibility points in crisis management.” (Provided by Fred Aubin, CD MCGI, CEO & Founder of Strategic Red Team Consulting, Ottawa, Canada
  2. The American Red Cross is always looking for disaster volunteers to be trained and on call for various local and other crises and emergencies.
  3. America’s Blood Centers, which provide blood to about 50% of America’s communities, also likely have programs across the US in which volunteers can be a part of the mix and learn about this facet of medical and emergency experience.
  4. The Salvation Army has disaster relief and disaster recovery activities requiring volunteers. There is training, and it’s definitely worth investigating.
  5. Your local emergency planning committee or commission. Every community in the United States has an LEPC. They spend a great deal of time planning for community emergencies, coordinating the activities of public and private agencies, and are always in need of volunteers for hands-on experience and to be an active part of the LEPC process. And they oversee some responses.
  6. Take an EMT training course – better yet, get certified as an EMT. The most powerful missing ingredient in crisis experience – at any level – is being with, helping, and understanding the victim dimension of crisis.
  7. Locate your local Department of Homeland Security office and see what voluntary opportunities they might have, or can suggest in your community.
  8. The Security Department in your own company. It’s kind of a longshot, but when disasters occur in companies, chances are the security operation has lots of influence, and key responsibilities. Check it out and see what they might be able to help you do on a voluntary basis to gain some experience on this very interesting and important facet of crisis response.
  9. Police and fire auxiliaries in your community, or perhaps a larger one nearby, are always seeking volunteers for a wide variety of tasks in what is generally a really interesting and friendly learning and teaching environment.
  10. Resources available in your community. Click here for three panels of organizations, all from the Midwest or Minnesota. Take a look at these lists because you may have very similar organizations in your neck of the woods, which reflect other opportunities for public service with organizations who are responders to crisis situations.

Many thanks to David L. Schoeneck, APR, External Relations, Twin Cities Chapter American Red Cross, Cell: (651) 206-1235 for all this wonderful additional information. He is a very senior member of the American Red Cross First Response Group and a great resource.

By: James E. Lukaszewski, ABC, Fellow IABC, APR, Fellow PRSA, BEPS Emeritus, America’s Crisis Guru®.

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