Bernstein Crisis Management. Crisis response, prevention, planning, and training.

Crisis Manager Internet Newsletter about Crisis Management

© 2006 Jonathan Bernstein
Circulation: 4,000+
Estimated Readership: 14,000+


Disasters don't care that you plan to roll out your crisis preparedness program over a four-year period, starting next year. Which is remarkably similar to what you said LAST year. If the shoe fits...

Jonathan Bernstein


Editor's Note: Jim Truscott's firm is my affiliate "down under" and in associated regions of the Pacific. He sent me this information originally as a business development tool, and I immediately requested and received his kind permission to publish it in article form, as Avian Flu is a hot topic worldwide at present.

Avian Influenza (AI) Preparedness
by Jim Truscott

While the likelihood and consequences of an Avian Influenza pandemic occurring are receiving vigorous debate by governments and health authorities, all international companies are making prudent Emergency Response and Business Continuity preparations for "denial of people" as opposed to traditional denial of physical assets. Emergency Response seeks to minimize potential risk to employees in the workplace while Business Continuity contingency planning allows for up to 30% absenteeism for three months.

Corporate Emergency Response

Most plans have the aim of increasing the awareness of all managers and staff as to how the organization will align its response to global levels of alert and how it will provide a safe working place for all employees under pandemic conditions. Note that typical government response strategies are based upon initial containment with a fallback to maintenance of essential services if containment falls.

Business Continuity

How much resilience is enough? In likelihood terms, there is a possibility that Avian Influenza will be a Y2K equivalent, however like terrorism the consequences are far harder to predict. As a bare minimum, companies are planning for 10%, 20% and 30% absenteeism for one, two and three months until a vaccine is developed and distributed.

Advise clients that the organization is conducting active contingency planning to minimize the risk of potentials disruptions and note the potential business advantage that such planning may have over competitors.

Complete the "percentage absenteeism by time" matrix for all major working locations, offices and assets, in order to establish the "pain point" and a "breaking point".

Determine who are the critical people and the trades that are vital to the continuation of operations under pandemic conditions, and what internal redundancy exists across the organization. Determine any contractual employment restrictions that may prevent the redeployment of manpower to other locations.

Determine who are the critical internal and external service providers and the impacts of their absenteeism on the organization. Determine the scope for 24/7 employee flexibility in working at work. Determine the minimum holdings of masks to be procured in advance.

Determine who can work from home now for extended periods. Determine what additional laptops and bandwidth are required for additional employees to work from home.

Determine what streamlining of financial delegations and approvals can occur. Determine the format of an absentee report to enable the organization to make manpower decisions during the course of the pandemic. Establish a small Business Continuity Team to champion the project, report back and to test the plan well before mid 2006.

Truscott Crisis Leaders,, is a leading Crisis and Business Continuity Management consultancy that operates throughout AsiaPacific.

Short Subjects
by Jonathan Bernstein

Sago Mining -- Proof that crisis communications expertise should be employed in crisis response every step of the way. The mine owners did a very good job, overall, but it was overshadowed by the inexcusable failure to tell people that the condition of the miners was NOT known as soon as the rumor to the contrary started going around. It also demonstrated how far journalism has devolved into a rush for sales versus confirmation of the truth. The USA Today headline, "12 Miners Found Alive," will be something I use as a training prop for many years to come.

Iran Bans CNN -- Does the country that's trying to be accepted as a peaceful part of the world community think it's really going to enhance that perception by shutting out the world's most-watched network? All over a translation error by a contractor? Iran needs to learn lessons from some of the former Soviet block nations that have used PR to reshape their image internationally. Of course, any honest crisis manager in Iran would probably have had his (and it would be a man, of course) head cut off long ago.

He Said What? -- So there's a Winter Olympics sport called "skeleton" which is, as far as I can figure out, the same thing as what I used to do careening out of control on my sled, head-first, down the biggest hill in my old Maryland neighborhood. Its coach, Tim Nardiello, is accused of sexual harassment against a woman who did not make the team. Felicia Canfield told officials that Nardiello "tried to kiss me on the lips." Nardiello was not, apparently, inclined to admit the allegation or apologize, but his lawyer was willing to comment. Instead of a safe reply expressing some sympathy for the feelings of the accuser combined with firm denial of the allegations, attorney James Brooks took a different tack. When asked if Nardiello made the offensive comment, he is reported (by TIME magazine) to have said, "Never! You ever seen her?" The prosecution rests.

Where Crises Can Start -- Not returning phone calls or emails.

Where Crises Can End -- Taking a deep breath and considering the feelings of others involved in an issue which could escalate.

Where Crises Can Start Ii -- Having a crabby receptionist, live or on the phone.

Bernstein Crisis Management Turns 12 -- January 4, 2006 marked the end of my 12th year in business, and demand is higher than it's ever been, particularly for crisis preparedness and long-range issues management consulting. Thank you to all my clients, referral sources, contractors and vendors for helping my little consultancy prosper. Thank you to my loving family for being there when I needed them and not being there when they knew it was smart to leave me alone. And thank you Bill and Bob.

Abbreviated Issue -- With regrets, that's all for this issue, my friends. I'm BURIED in work and about to go on vacation for eight days, so needs must. I hope that Jim Truscott's article, in particular, was worth the read.


Keeping The Wolves At Bay

Keeping the Wolves at Bay (available in print and PDF formats) remains, to my knowledge, the only commercially published media training manual in the world. It can be purchased at, and its pages can be modified to make it YOUR "name brand" media training manual if you are an agency or organization that frequently conducts training. If the latter subject is of interest to you, write to:

CD-ROM: Crisis Management & The Law
How PR Pros & Lawyers Can Work Together Effectively
Featuring Jonathan Bernstein, Richard Levick and Ed Novak

On February 23, 2005, Jonathan Bernstein played talk show host and expert commentator in a one-hour teleseminar featuring internationally renowned litigation PR expert Richard Levick and one of the country's top white collar crime attorneys, Ed Novak. This CD-ROM is a "must have" to play for the executive staff of any organization, for practice group meetings at law firms, or for the entire staff of any PR agency.

Go to to read more details about and/or to order this CD-ROM, and to learn of other educational and training materials produced by Jonathan Bernstein.


Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc. has formal or informal co-promotional and mutually beneficial business associations with a number of the services we mention periodically in this newsletter. No, we can't go into details because that's confidential, proprietary, etc. But our relationship is NOT "arm's distance" and you should know that, since we regularly write about these services as we use them for crisis and issues management or other purposes. That said, you should also know that Bernstein Crisis Management sought the relationships because its staff is convinced that these services are the best of their kind for Bernstein Crisis Management's needs and those of its clients. If you have any questions about these relationships, please contact Jonathan Bernstein, (626) 825-3838.


Jonathan Bernstein is president of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc.,, a national crisis management public relations agency providing 24/7 access to crisis response professionals. The agency engages in the full spectrum of crisis management services: crisis prevention, response, planning & training. He has been in the public relations field since 1982, following five-year stints in both military intelligence and investigative reporting. Write to

Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc. is located at 1013 Orange Avenue, Monrovia, CA 91016. Telephone: (626) 825-3838.


GUEST AUTHORS are very welcome to submit material for "Crisis Manager." There is no fee paid, but most guest authors have reported receiving business inquiries as a result of appearing in this publication. Case histories, experience-based lessons, commentary on current news events and editorial opinion are all eligible for consideration. Submission is not a guarantee of acceptance.


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Articles in "Crisis Manager" were, unless otherwise noted, written and copyrighted by Jonathan Bernstein. Permission to reprint will often be granted for no charge. Write to