A department facing a crisis can easily find itself needing to release warnings to the internal members of the department as well as to those the department serves. Consider the following scenario:
You are the chief operating officer of a 250-member Fire and EMS agency in a suburban area of the United States. Your service area is approximately 150 square miles and includes residential, commercial, and agricultural areas. You are conducting a scheduled meeting with a member of the field staff, Firefighter/Medic John Smith. FF/Medic Smith has just informed you that he is considering filing a lawsuit against the department for lack of action on other members of the department that he claims have been physically harassing and abusing him. He shows you documentation from the last six months of written complaints that he has made to his chain of command and claims that no action has been taken to prevent the behavior, and it continues to happen. He concludes by stating that he has consulted a lawyer to look into his options of lawsuits and media involvement to see something occur.
A search of department records show that there have been no corrective actions taken against the firefighters in question and there is no other documentation of this issue having been dealt with. Using one of the communication and warning methods, write a two- to three-page paper to answer the following questions:
1. Was there a period where warning signs of the crisis could have been recognized?
2. Do messages need to be sent out? If so, what should the messages say, what is the intended audience, and what method should be used to send the message?
3. If messages should be sent, what is the desired outcome once the messages are received? If that outcome does not occur, what additional steps (if any) should be taken?
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