During an emergency, a well-defined, operational information collection capability is essential. Information collection provides situational awareness to leadership and promotes informed decision making. Accordingly, the University has designated a process to collect, analyze, and disseminate information during an emergency to both internal and external response partners as well as the public.
Information will be collected from a variety of sources. Per ICS, the Planning Section at each operational location will be charged with collecting information. The following lists a few examples of potential sources of operational information:
- On-scene responders
- ICS 214- Activity Logs
- University departments
- Public agencies and non-governmental organization partners
- Television, radio, and print media
- Social media
- Victims of the emergency or the general public
- Subject matter experts
University Phone Bank
The University has the capability to establish hotlines to provide or collect information to and from concerned members of the public including family members of University students and staff.
After information has been collected, it must be analyzed to determine its operational relevance. Emergency management personnel (or Planning Section personnel, if the EOC is activated) will analyze information that is received and prepare intelligence reports for leadership.
Media Monitoring and Rumor Control
During an emergency, the potential for dissemination of false or misleading information is high. This can lead to operational difficulties for responders and confusion among the public. Misleading information can be produced from several sources including television, radio, print, and especially, social media. Accordingly, the University will establish a media monitoring and rumor control element in its JIC (if activated) or EOC.
Media monitoring will be conducted in close coordination with the University’s public information partners such as the University of Chicago Medicine and the City of Chicago.
Message dissemination is categorized into internal messaging and public messaging. Internal messaging refers to messages crafted for responders and partners, while public messaging refers to messages crafted for public dissemination.
Public information representatives in the JIC (if activated) or EOC will assist in conveying information as necessary to the Policy Group, which includes representatives of the News Office. Additionally, the Planning Section will maintain and update an Incident Action Plan (IAP), which will contain critical information and intelligence updates for responders and partners.
Other methods of internal information dissemination include the University-wide emails and cAlert messages.
Various methods of public information dissemination are available. The decision to use a particular medium will be based on the urgency of information and the intended audience. Some methods of distribution include:
- Press releases
- Press conferences
- Website updates
- Print, radio, or televised announcements
- Social media updates
To ensure one consistent and accurate voice, all public information releases will be coordinated through the University JIC or the Office of University Communications.
In the event the primary method of dissemination is unavailable, the University of Chicago Medicine will serve as a mutual aid partner, providing key announcements and bulletins to be posted on the UCMC website. University radio stations, including WHPK, 88.5 FM, may also serve as a broadcast source of emergency information, if necessary.