During a Crisis: Public Affairs Operations Center

Checklist 3 min
Complete these tasks to set up and operate the Public Affairs Operations Center (PAOC) during any kind of crisis.

When a crisis occurs, it is imperative to connect with senior leadership and the incident commander ASAP. Proper planning for a crisis is essential for responding quickly and effectively. Know your role and your duties.

The PAOC handles public affairs (PA) functions related to the crisis that are not handled by the Crisis Action Team (CAT), Emergency Operations Center (EOC) or Media Operations Center (MOC). The PAOC also supports the CAT, EOC and MOC as needed. The PAOC can be stood up in the vicinity of the PA Office or at a separate location if necessary.

Use this checklist if you are assigned to the PAOC during a crisis. Check with your unit to verify there are no other specific essential duties required.

  1. Determine building location to operate PAOC
    1. Include computers with a secure method of communication
    2. Establish daily staff stand-up time and location
  2. Ensure all physical and digital PAOC materials are in a central location and accessible to all PA staff
  3. Pass cordon location from EOC PA to area PA offices
  4. Establish communications with other PA areas
  5. Confer with CAT to notify PA and any other PA rep of accident and measures that are being taken
  6. If necessary, request the appropriate support be placed on warm standby for Media Operations Center (MOC)/Joint Information Center (JIC), if visitor control center not available
  7. Give accountability for all PA personnel until 100 percent accountability is reached
    1. Conduct accountability recall of all personnel
    2. Identify personnel for building security/entry control if called upon during your shift
    3. Request two people to assist staffing telephones (if available)
  8. Ensure there is a clear plan for managing personnel if a crisis lasts more than 24 hours
  9. For situational awareness, document staff names and locations of the following:
    1. CAT Day
    2. CAT Night
    3. EOC Day
    4. EOC Night
    5. PAOC Day
    6. PAOC Night
    7. MOC Day
    8. MOC Night
    9. Visual Information Alert Photo
    10. Alert Photo
  10. Ensure office is stocked with water, non-perishable snacks and freezer meals
  11. Create two inboxes for Response to Query (RTQ) forms, or AF IMT 39, and file hard copies of queries (if needed)
    1. Label one: “Pending Queries”
    2. Label the other: “Completed Queries”
  12. Follow RTQ procedures using the Media Queries Response Guide
  13. Prepare to evacuate, if necessary, by identifying essential materials and having Alt-PAOC location on warm standby
  14. Prepare for establishing MOC
  15. Coordinate with EOC to develop press kits that include:
    1. Bios of Subject Matter Experts (SME)
    2. Wing/base fact sheets
    3. All press releases
    4. Fact sheets of pertinent units, aircraft, etc.
    5. Any and all other releasable information
  16. Support PA product development and who is tasked to provide:
    1. Communication plan, if necessary, from PAOC and EOC with CAT inputs and approval
    2. Releases from CAT
    3. RTQ from PAOC with CAT approved releases/responses
    4. Background information for internal/Public Information Officer briefs from EOC
    5. SME lists from EOC
    6. Press kits from PAOC
    7. Q&As from PAOC, based on media questions and CAT-approved responses
    8. Press conference initial statement for command from CAT or EOC
    9. Straight Talk message from PAOC or EOC, based on approved press releases
    10. Facebook/Twitter posts from PAOC or EOC, based on approved responses and safety information
    11. Marquee message update(s) from PAOC
  17. Be aware that CAT may establish:
    1. MOC
    2. Media briefings (CAT/EOC)
    3. PA name for follow-on PA support (CAT)
    4. Transportation for media or support agencies (EOC)
  18. At end of crisis, when notified by CAT, revert straight talk message, marquee, Facebook, Twitter, etc., to normal operations