Part one of being prepared for any emergency is our everyday processes and procedures. Part two is our participation in the twice annual full-scale emergency drills coordinated by Orlando Health’s Emergency Management Department. And part three is our department’s Emergency Communication Guide.


We have everyday processes and communication templates in place that foster close collaboration with our communication partners in Media Relations, Community Relations, Medical Staff Services and Marketing departments. Cascading information throughout the Orlando Health enterprise requires all hands on deck to ensure we appropriately use our available communication channels and share a consistent message. This collaboration becomes even more critical during an emergency.


Incident Command full scale drills occur twice a year and provide valuable practice that builds confidence when engaged in a real crisis. A designated representative from Internal Communications reports to the incident command center as one of the communication officers, a role shared with Media Relations. Thanks to frequent drills, we report to the incident command room knowing exactly what the communication expectations and rules of engagement are between all members of the command team. One of the important functions of the communication officer(s) is to determine if the Crisis Communication team, consisting of representatives from 19 different departments, should be called into the incident command center.


After-event debriefs provide valuable insight on what needs to be improved. The Internal Communications team captures this information in our Emergency Communication Guide and saves examples of communications that may be applicable in a future incident. In our electronic files, we have communication examples for many specific codes we have experienced, including: mass casualty, severe weather, information technology service failures and infectious diseases, such as MERS. We also maintain up-to-date instructions for all codes to recommunicate to leaders, front-line team members and physicians.