University Station Alliance

Linking public broadcasting stations and their university partners since 2001

Emergency Preparedness Plan Sample

In this emergency preparedness document, Montana Public Radio defines key station functions in times of crisis, defines various levels of emergency and the stations response at each level.

Key Principles

  • Montana Public Radio is an important news source for citizens in our communities of service.
  • At all times, Montana Public Radio maintains its journalistic values of accuracy, fairness and independence.
  • Montana Public Radio strives to imbue all coverage with context, civility and craftsmanship.
  • Montana Public Radio cannot be primary source of news in communities where we have no staff.

Four Key Functions in Times of Crisis

  • Vital Information Resource: Montana Public Radio provides calm, factual accounts of what is happening, where it is happening, who is affected and how things are changing, and explains why.
  • Communication Lifeline: Montana Public Radio saves lives by relaying critical information to and from affected parties.
  • Early warning beacon: Montana Public Radio saves lives and property by transmitting timely, reliable information that prevents harm.
  • Community Forum: Montana Public Radio connects citizens, giving them a way to come together, share concerns and support one another during difficult times.

Plan for Decision Making – Assess, Mobilize, Air

  • Assess: the first person aware of the news notifies news management. Management sets appropriate response level.
  • Mobilize: Studio staff is the first need – to feed air. Newsroom staff is the second need – to feed studio. Field staff is next – to feed newsroom and studio.
  • Air: Provide summaries promptly. Present facts calmly, carefully. Repeat as necessary. Adjust coverage proportionately to severity, interest and resources.

Five Emergency Response Levels

  1. Low, normal format
  2. Medium-low, updates in format
  3. Medium-high, updates break format
  4. High, limited extended coverage
  5. Ultra-high, unlimited extended coverage

Emergency Level One

Lowest response level Normal format Localized situation Air can wait.

  • Assess: Situation qualifies if “yes” is the answer to these questions:
    • Does the emergency directly affect few people (1-4)?
    • Is it clear the emergency isn’t becoming worse?
    • Can public curiosity wait until a scheduled newscast?
  • Mobilize: News Director assesses response. News anchor feeds air in newscasts. News reporter covers if assigned.
  • Air: Regularly scheduled newscasts