CDC Event Assessment Wizard
The movie ‘Deep Impact’, presents one of the most potentially damaging crises in the world. The movie begins when an amateur astronaut, Leo Biederman recognizes a strange object in space. The object is later found to be a comet heading for the earth. The effects of the comet striking the earth would be devastating and would result in multiple deaths. The president of the United States has made plans on how to address the impending doom and is forced to share those plans with the public once a reporter finds out the news. In spite of the government’s efforts to prevent the occurrence of the adverse effects of the predicted event, the public has to also be willing to cooperate with the government in evacuation plans. The president’s initial plans to have explosives planted on the comet so that it blows up while still in space fails and the comet is broken into two large parts, each of which still moves towards the earth. The first part falls into the Atlantic Ocean resulting in a mega-tsunami while the second part is eventually blown up in a suicide mission by astronauts. Most of the citizens lose their lives in the process while some are saved through the underground shelters that have been built by the government and by moving to higher ground where the impacts of the tsunami.
Considering the characteristics of the series of events depicted in the movie the CDC assessment checklist indicates that the incidents were highly intense. The descriptions of the series of events as depicted in the movie indicate that they resulted in a high number of deaths within a very short period. Secondly, the deaths expected were way above normal, which is also an indication of a high intensity even. The persons involved in the event also had to take steps to protect their safety and personal health. This indicates why involved individuals such as Sarah made the decision to give others the opportunity to be saved. These events can thus be categorized as catastrophic events. The total intensity points come to 12, which indicates a significantly large impact.
Another aspect of the events that have been reviewed was the communication process. The communication around the event occurred in three distinct phases. The first phase was the communication to the public during which they were informed of the impending crisis and the government’s preparation for it. During this communication, it is deductible that the president satisfied the various requirements for the communication of an operative crisis described by Reynolds, Galdo, and Sokler (2002) namely, being the first to report, focusing on the potential victims, and ensuring that accurate information is given. The requirement to focus on the victim has also been mentioned by Bundy et al. (2017), as being applicable especially when there is imminent danger as in the presented case. During the second communication stage, the government informed the public of the failure of the initial mitigation plans for the crisis. In this communication, emphasis was still placed on the victim, with clear indications of the government’s plans towards safety. The last stage of communication was the post-incident report, during which the government recognized the astronauts who had willingly lost their lives fighting to ensure the people were safe.
From these communications, it is evident that while the incident was not entirely mitigated and there were deaths due to the highly intensive risks associated with the events, the government did a lot to ensure that the people were safe. Lundgren and McMakin (2011), state that effective communication during a crisis can help mitigate potential negative outcomes. The principle of giving timely communication as discussed by Coombs (2014) was also utilized effectively, as the government made sure to be the first source of information at each stage of the crisis. In this way, it is deductible that while the crisis may have been associated with adverse risks, the communication protocol was effective towards limiting damage as much as possible.
Bundy, J., Pfarrer, M.D., Short, C.E., & Coombs, W.T. (2017). Crises and crisis management: Integration, interpretation, and research development. Journal of Management, 43(6), 1661-1692. Retrieved from media.terry.uga.edu/socrates/publications/2017/09/Crises_and_Crisis_Management_JOM_2017.pdf
Coombs, W.T. (2014). State of crisis communication: evidence and the bleeding edge. Research Journal of the Institute of Public Relations, 1(1). Retrieved from www.instituteforpr.org//wp-content/uploads/CoombsFinalWES.pdf
Leder, M. (1998). Deep impact. Paramount Pictures. [YouTube Video]. Retrieved from www.youtube.com/watch?v=sEYhjNgNEhs
Lundgren, R.E., & McMakin, A.H. (2011). Risk communication: A handbook for communicating environmental, safety and health risks. John Wiley & Sons. Retrieved from books.google.co.ke/books?id=93HqxkI7Na4C&pg=PT295&lpg=PT295&dq=emergency+risk+communication-+clips+from+movies&source=bl&ots=TAT87CPf89&sig=ACfU3U18yARY711R8olNDS6KVkvb6N_6kw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjGpIiJ9t3nAhURTsAKHXHZCsgQ6AEwDXoECAkQAQ#v=onepage&q=emergency%20risk%20communication-%20clips%20from%20movies&f=false
Reynolds, B., Galdo, J.H., & Sokler, L. (2002). Crisis and emergency risk communication. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from www.orau.gov/cdcynergy/erc/CERC%20Course%20Materials/CERC_Book.pdf