COVID COMMS #5: ‘There is no emergency in a pandemic’

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A lifetime ago I was a assistant chief reporter in a district office of twelve.

There were seven deadlines and two schedules a day and it wasn’t uncommon for us to clear a hundred stories a day.

Every day was a crisis until it dawned on me that crisis was normal. It would be a crisis if its wasn’t a crisis.

I read a good meme posted by A&E Twitter last week with words to share from the Ebola epidemic to people in the medical profession.

There is no emergency in a pandemic.

During the Ebola outbreak, people were dying. But at no point did we rush in, we took the 10 minutes to put on our PPE with our spotter. If we didn’t have proper PPE we did NOT go in.

There is no emergency in a pandemic.

You may work in long term care, and want to rush in to save a patient you have had for years. Do not go in without your PPE.

There is no emergency in a pandemic.

You may have a survivor in the room, screaming at you to come in because their mother is crashing. Do not go in without your PPE.

There is no emergency in a pandemic.

You may have an infected woman in labor. Screaming for help. Do not go in without your PPE.

There is no emergency in a pandemic.

You may have a self-quarantined patient with a gunshot wound who is bleeding out. Do not go in there without your PPE.

There is no emergency in a pandemic.

It would be wrong to equate A&E with a newsroom or a public sector comms team even though the right message well delivered does save lives. But there is something in the broad lesson of pacing yourself, pacing your team and just breathing. If you go down you can help no-one. 

Picture credit: Documerica / Flickr

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