The Mission-Critical Resource Center

MCP Helps NCT911 Improve Its Crisis Communications

In Summary:

  • A 911 service interruption occurred in September 2018 that required the North Central Texas Council of Governments’ 911 Program (NCT911) to communicate with internal and external stakeholders during the crisis—a task made more difficult because a crisis communications plan didn’t exist at the time.
  • MCP subject-matter experts thoroughly assessed the steps taken by NCT911 to communicate information about the outage to the affected internal and stakeholders, and assess their effectiveness in reaching those groups.
  • A crisis communications plan subsequently was completed by NCT911 that contains several actions based on the recommendations provided by MCP.

Background:

The North Central Texas Council of Governments’ 911 Program (NCT911) serves approximately 2 million citizens and 43 emergency communications centers (ECCs) in 13 counties spread across the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. On September 12, 2018, shortly before noon, NCT911 was alerted to a possible 911 service interruption.

Challenges:

NCT911 operations team did not have a documented plan in place for communicating with internal and external stakeholders—including citizens, government officials, mainstream media and social-media platforms—in the event of a widespread 911 service disruption.

How MCP Helped:

NCT911’s leadership team requested that Mission Critical Partners (MCP) conduct an in-depth review of the steps taken to communicate information about the outage to the affected internal and stakeholders, and assess their effectiveness in reaching those groups.

“When it was time for us to review the effectiveness of our communications efforts during the 911 outage, we trusted MCP to provide the support that we needed to conduct the assessment and offer an unbiased review of our communications with the public during that time,” said Christy Williams, NCT911's director.

Results:

Following the assessment, the NCT911 operations team continued development of the district’s crisis communications plans based in part on the MCP-provided recommendations.

“This project clearly is example of the MCP team teaching us things that we didn’t know and then we were able to implement those things,” Williams said.

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