CERC Manual for Emergency Risk Commuication

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

CDC’s Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication (CERC) manual is built around psychological and communication sciences, studies in issues management, and practical lessons learned from emergency responses.

The manual contains the following tools: 

CERC: Introduction

Last updated 2018
  • Types of emergencies and factors that increase the risk of crisis
  • Definitions of crisis and emergency risk communication (CERC) concepts
  • Lifecycle of CERC and how communication works at each phase of a crisis 

CERC: Psychology of a Crisis

Last updated 2014
  • The four ways people process information during a crisis
  • Mental states during a disaster, such as uncertainty, helplessness, and hopelessness
  • Risk perception and behaviors 

CERC: Messages and Audiences  

Last updated 2018

  • Understanding your audiences
  • Making facts work in your message
  • Building credibility and trust
  • Gathering audience feedback

   CERC: Community Engagement 

      Last updated 2018
  • Communities in the context of an emergency
  • Types of community relationships
  • Community engagement in each phase of a crisis
  • Levels of community engagement
  • Tips for community engagement

CERC: Crisis Communication Plans

Last updated 2014
  • Phases of a crisis
  • Developing the plan
  • Applying the plan throughout CERC lifecycle 

CERC: Spokesperson

Last updated 2014
  • The role of the spokesperson in crisis communication
  • Characteristics and best practices of a spokesperson
  • Working with the media and public meetings 

CERC: Working with the Media

Last updated 2014
  • The media’s role in a crisis, disaster, or emergency
  • Interacting with the media and developing positive relationships
  • Meeting media needs throughout an emergency
  • Responding to media regarding significant errors, myths, and misperceptions 

CERC: Other Communication Channels

Last updated 2014
  • Communication channel attributes
  • Channel characteristics and features
  • Applying specific communication tools 

CERC: Social Media and Mobile Devices

Last updated 2014
  • Social media’s relationship with mainstream media
  • Role of social media in a crisis
  • Responding to social media regarding serious errors, myths, and misperceptions

 CERC: Terrorism and Bioterrorism Communication Challenges 

Last updated 2014

  • Challenges to communicating during chemical, biological, nuclear, or explosive (CBRNE) events.
  • Understanding psychological responses to terrorism
  • Communicating about the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS)
Last updated 2014
  • Appropriate staffing and preparation to maintain the well-being of communicators
  • Preparing for and addressing the mental health of responders and their families

 CERC: Understanding the Roles of Federal, State, and Local Community Health Partners 

Last updated 2014

  • Key federal government agencies that may be involved in an emergency response and their roles.
  • How communities, local and federal government agencies, and national and international organizations coordinate and communicate in a response

CERC: Media and Public Health Law

Last updated 2014
  • Laws and regulations that protect privacy
  • State public health emergency powers
  • Laws regarding freedom of speech, Freedom of Information Act, and Copyright law