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Questions for Crisis Guru

questions for crisis

Photo taken by Charles Gorrill

From younger practitioners, “How do I gain the experience necessary to have the credibility needed to do meaningful work in the field of crisis management?”

This is an update of my posting on this topic on November 14, 2013. Please see the new # 1, provided by Fred Aubin, CD MCGI, CEO & Founder of Strategic Red Team Consulting, Ottawa, Canada. Thank you, Fred.

There are a lot of places to get experience, and experience in the real world of crisis is essential to have credibility and opportunity in the field. Crisis Management is the currently the most sought-after area of public relations practice; colleges are even offering degrees in crisis management, which is a mystifying since very specific and powerful real life experience is a prerequisite to practice. My suggestions follow those of Fred Aubin’s in #1:

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.”

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 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.

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 long-shot, 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.


James E. Lukaszewski, ABC, Fellow IABC; APR, Fellow PRSA, BEPS Emeritus


If you have questions, or would like to dive more deeply into the subject of this blog, you can reach me 24/7 at jel@e911.com; 203-948-7029 (voicemail, email, text). I look forward, as a friend and colleague, to helping you achieve the objectives you’ve set for yourself for having a happier, more influential, successful and meaningful career.

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