Tuesday, July 13, 2010

PR Around the Clock

I think most PR professionals would agree that their public relations duties do not always end once they leave the office. Even though the work day may end at 5 o'clock, the world does not stop turning then.

This is especially true for those who work for organizations such as the American Red Cross, where I am interning this summer. Since disasters can occur at any time, the Red Cross provides emergency relief 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This means important situations involving the Red Cross often occur when communications staff are not in the office. As talented as the staff may be, they can use some help during their off hours. For this reason, the Red Cross has a communications on-call position.

The on-call volunteer operates as the media contact when the Red Cross provides disaster relief services after hours. Typically, on-call volunteers are assigned one week per month in which they will be contacted in the event of an emergency between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. If an emergency occurs during their assigned time period, the on-call volunteer will receive a call from the Bridge, the Red Cross' emergency call center. The volunteer is then responsible for recording the details about the emergency and the Red Cross' involvement in the relief efforts and contacting the appropriate media with that information. In some cases, the on-call volunteer will even report to the disaster scene. Of course, in the event of a major disaster occurring after hours, the communications staff will also be notified and will respond accordingly.

For an organization like the Red Cross, it is absolutely necessary for someone to be available to talk to the media at all hours. What are some other situations that you have been in or that you can think of that require PR professionals to be available beyond the traditional work day?

1 comment:

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