During a Crisis: Crisis Action Team

Checklist 2 min
Use this checklist to carry out the responsibilities of the Crisis Action Team (CAT).

When a crisis occurs, a command may opt to stand up a Crisis Action Team (CAT). The public affairs (PA) representative should go to the CAT and help leadership identify and release information with maximum disclosure and minimum delay.

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

  1. Establish communications with other team members
  2. Initiate an instant message system with the other PA representatives if one is not already in place
  3. If necessary, establish virtual contact with other CAT members through appropriate channels and CAT conference bridge lines
    1. Primary CAT conference bridge
    2. Secondary CAT conference bridge
  4. Send out initial news release:
    1. Gather initial information from period EOC/CAT updates and in coordination with other EOC/CAT reps
    2. Determine if initial details are sufficient to complete the initial release to news media
    3. Get release reviewed by EOC commander and final approval for release by CAT commander or through the on-scene representative to the on-scene commander (OSC) if CAT details are too vague
    4. Upon approval, send the release to media through appropriate electronic distribution channels
    5. Note release time on virtual communication log
    6. Ensure military media outlets are included as addressees on initial information release and other publicly releasable information and images
  5. Assess potential hazards, cordons and other dangerous situations
  6. Forward potential hazards information to PAOC, EOC and MOC via virtual communications, if applicable
  7. 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
    11. Photo/Graphics Standby
    12. Alternate PAOC
  8. Confirm with PAOC that PAO has been notified
  9. Ensure other PA offices and Public Information Officers (PIOs) have been notified, as necessary
  10. Consult local crisis communication phone listing for potential communication to ancillary PIOs who may have impact
  11. Compile a list of civilian authorities to have ready for commander to call if required
  12. Submit operational report (OPREP) information through the commander to proper authorities if required
  13. If tour groups are on base, recommend to commander that they be escorted to safe area
  14. Log all activities in virtual communications log
  15. Support PA product development and who is tasked to provide:
    1. Communication plan from PAOC and EOC with CAT inputs and approval, unless the scope of the incident requires the communication plan originate at high headquarters
    2. Releases from CAT
    3. Response to query (RTQ) from PAOC with CAT-approved releases/responses
    4. Background information for internal/PIO briefs from EOC
    5. Command messages from CAT
    6. Identify Choir/Non-Choir Audiences from PAOC
    7. SME lists from EOC
    8. Media kits from PAOC
    9. Q&As from PAOC, based on media questions and CAT-approved responses
    10. Press conference initial statement for command from CAT or EOC
    11. Straight Talk message from PAOC or EOC, based on approved press releases
    12. Facebook/Twitter posts from PAOC or EOC, based on approved responses and safety information
    13. Marquee message update(s) from PAOC
  16. Consider establishing:
    1. MOC
    2. Point on Point or Just In Time media briefings for CAT and EOC
    3. PA name for follow-on PA support
    4. Shift work schedule for CAT
    5. Transportation for media or support agencies for EOC
  17. Recommend VI support through EOC, if needed:
    1. Video press conferences
    2. Internal photo releases
    3. External B-roll video releases
    4. External photo support
    5. Web posting
  18. At end of crisis, notify PAOC to revert straight talk message, marquee, Facebook, Twitter, etc., to normal operations