On March 14, San Diego State University hosted a crisis training event that brought together emergency response officials, CALFIRE, journalists, public relations practitioners, ham radio operators and members of the San Diego community to talk about wildfires and how to be prepared when the next big fire hits the area.
The Collaborative Crisis Communication Training program was sponsored by the SDSU Center for Science and Media and hosted by SDSU’s School of Journalism and Media Studies, the Department of Geological Sciences, the College of Sciences and the Viz Lab.
“This crisis program allowed us to bring together individuals from different professions and backgrounds in the San Diego community to learn about the importance of collaboration during a crisis and disaster and to form the beginnings of an important network that can help when the next big wildfire hits the area,” said Amy Schmitz Weiss, associate professor of journalism at SDSU.
Training participants learned about the science of wildfires, how to build a crisis communication plan in the event of a wildfire, how to disseminate information during a crisis, and what digital and social media tools can be used in the moments of a crisis.
Hands-on group activities and a wildfire simulation supplemented the training.
The event also included a panel discussion hosted by Online News Association San Diego, on how journalists should cover the next big natural disaster in San Diego. Panelists included Lindsay Hood, ONA San Diego and XETV; Kelly Zombro, Deputy Chief Operations, CALFIRE; Laura Wingard, Digital Editor, KPBS; Don Shafer, XETV; Steve Price, Crisis Mappers; and Danny Briggs, Red Cross.
This project was made possible by SDSU’s President’s Leadership Fund.
This training is part of a larger research project the team is conducting to explore the impact of collaborative communication practices in the moments of a crisis or disaster.
About the center
The primary mission of the Center for Science and Media is to educate the public about science, through the strategic and ethical use of media.
"The sharing of scientific information in times of crisis is particularly challenging, yet often even more important for human safety and well-being," said Bey-Ling Sha, interim director of SDSU's School of Journalism and Media Studies.