Keep Your Cool When Things Heat Up

Keep Your Cool When Things Heat Up

Simulation 10 min

Act Fast: Plane Crashes During Air Show

Your mission is to communicate vital information about the aircraft crash to the public and internal audiences while still protecting the privacy of victims during this crisis situation.

Resources and other information regarding the mission will be provided to help you along the way.

Your Mission

At 9:00 a.m. on July 3rd, the gates opened for the Independence Day Air Show.
A large crowd gathered at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.
Everyone was looking forward to seeing the C-17, nicknamed “The Moose” because of its characteristic sound.
At approximately 11:22 a.m. local time, the U.S. Air Force C-17 took off. Onboard were the pilot and three airmen.
At 12:15 p.m., just minutes into the flight, the pilot radioed the air traffic control team that the plane was in distress and they would need to return to base and land immediately.
At approximately 1:00 p.m., air show guests recorded the aircraft flying at a very low altitude, with smoke visibly pouring from the plane.
At approximately 1:15 p.m., the C-17 crashed into the grassy area between the runway and tarmac, where guests were gathered.
Fire crews responded immediately to the scene. Debris from the aircraft scattered on the field and onto the tarmac.
Injured parties were taken to area hospitals. The four members of the C-17 aircrew were pronounced dead.
Members of the media are also on the scene and have been directed to a central gathering location.
The Emergency Operations Center has been set up, and all EOC members have been recalled.
The EOC has been provided with an overview of the existing social media strategy. Access it via the resources button.
Crisis communication is one of the most important roles in the PA office. Keep your cool and respond thoughtfully!


You need to effectively respond to this crisis situation and communicate vital information to the public and internal audiences. In addition, these items need to be addressed:
  1. Gain and maintain control of the information space
  2. Protect the privacy of victims
  3. Interact with the media
  4. Keep internal and external stakeholders informed


Don't forget, the resources in the upper right corner will stay with you throughout the mission.
Q. 1 OF 4
You are being asked to respond, coordinate and support the response to this crisis. Since the incident has occurred, three things have happened.
Which would you like to address first?
Q. 2 OF 4
Information and questions are coming by phone, in person and on social media. You will be making initial decisions in the early moments of the crisis.
What immediate steps do you need to take?
Q. 3 OF 4
People are using social media to ask about their friends, neighbors and loved ones.
Which of these is an appropriate response?
Q. 4 OF 4
You’re getting some tough questions from the media. You were asked, “Who is at fault and is there an investigation?”
What is the appropriate response?
Q. 2 OF 4
Civilian news crews are already on the scene and reporting misinformation as well as violating sensitive site guidelines. You will be interfacing with the media. You need to get the media's attention and establish control of the narrative.
What is the most immediate step you will need to take?
Q. 3 OF 4
You are now preparing for the initial news conference.
Which of these actions will NOT be part of your preparation?
Q. 4 OF 4
You caught a member of the media violating stated restrictions by filming classified information.
Who should be notified?
Q. 2 OF 4
It is confirmed that the accident caused injuries to civilians and loss of life to military personnel.
Which of these actions should be part of your initial steps?
Q. 3 OF 4
After completing the critical initial steps and diligently monitoring and listening on social media, it's time to make a post. Review the Social Media Strategy Overview via the resources button.
Which of these is an appropriate post to share on social media?
Q. 4 OF 4
You need to issue a news release about the victims, both living and deceased.
Review the news release via the resources button. Are there any SAPP violations?

Your Debrief

During this crisis, every decision you made had an impact on the safety and well-being of your military colleagues and the civilian community. Your ability to act quickly, calmly and with reverence and respect are key functions of crisis communication.

The immediate crisis is over; however, there is still a lot of work to be done in the aftermath. There will be additional releases and communications as details are uncovered. You will need to continue to monitor the conversations on social media and respond accordingly.

In the aftermath, a team assessment and reflection on the steps taken may prompt you to update your local crisis management plan.

You will want to thank your community and key partners for their support and take steps to ensure that communication stays open as the crisis's long-term effects are resolved. 

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