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First, we will take the opportunity to introduce you the partners of the consortium. They are grouped according to the institution they work for. For more information on the institutes, universities, please turn to the page on our consortium.

  • Bar Illan University, (Project Coordinator), Israel
  • A&B One GmbH, Germany
  • Research Institute for European and American Studies (RIEAS)
  • University of Ulster, United Kingdom
  • Universidad de Burgos, Spain
  • University of Rousse Angel Kunchev, Bulgaria
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Abstract

SAFE COMMS aims to provide effective communication strategies for the aftermath of terror attacks. By analyzing the communication activities that followed terror attacks in many different countries, as well as the requirements for effective crisis communications, the project will develop a comprehensive and flexible communication strategy for authorities to react after terror attacks.
The strategy will be disseminated in the form of a crisis communications manual, and series of training module and complementary audio-visual material. These deliverables will enable authorities todevelop, adapt and enhance their own crisis communication plans for effective reaction in case of terror attacks.

The rapid expansion of global terrorism means that every government office, local authority and organization is exposed to the threat of a terrorist attack. Such attacks usually come where least expected. As terrorists become globally mobile and search for vulnerable targets across Europe and other countries

A terror attack causes loss of life and destruction of facilities but also wider public panic, misunderstanding and fear. Recovery from a terror attack depends on a carefully planned and effective communications strategy, aimed at three target audiences: the media, the general public and internal employees of the authorities affected by the attack.
Only by preparing beforehand could an authority be assured of an effective counter-terrorism communications strategy that dovetails within wider crisis management and continuity plans.

SAFE COMMS aims at providing authorities all over Europe with crisis communication plans specifically designed for terror attacks, which are based on analysis of numerous real-world case studies, and the unique requirements of recovery from terror attacks. This project will enable authorities at every level- governmental, regional and local – to better prepare for terror attacks and ensure that their reaction, in case of such a surprise attack, is thoroughly planed and trained well in advance of such a tragedy. By having a ready crisis communication strategy for terror crises, authorities can significantly decrease a major effect that the terrorists seek to achieve – pubic panic, confusion and chaos.

Projected Outcome (research stages)
The proposed research project is based on an interdisciplinary analysis of the requirements and challenges posed to public authorities by terrorist attacks, and the development of strategies to prepare, adapt and manage effective communications in terror crises. It will also deal with developing extensive training scenarios and methods for preparing public officials and communication personnel for dealing with the aftermath of terror attacks.
The overall strategy is straight-forward and clear: how should public authorities react, from a communication point of view, in the immediate aftermath of a terror attack in order to minimize the damage and ensure quick and efficient recovery and continuity. Such a strategy must be flexible, to be easily adapted to changing circumstances and to different types of attacks. It must be simple, easy to rehearse and train, and aim to provide the media with quick, reliable information based on the media’s realistic requirements under conditions of crisis.
Time Frame
The research is planned for a period of 24 months. It is divided into three stages:
Stage I will concentrate on analyzing the communication challenges posed to public authorities by terror attacks. It will construct a typology of terror attacks according to their duration, targets, victims and potential effects. It will analyze the components of these effects and the requirements of an effective communications strategy in crisis preparation, prevention and intervention.

Stage II will concentrate on in-depth case study analysis of 22 actual terror attacks which took place in recent years. Analysis will focus on the communication strategy and tactics adopted by public authorities in those cases, and the effectiveness of their post attack communication work.

Stage III will integrate the results of the previous two stages and develop comprehensive and flexible communication strategy for terror crises. This strategy will be comprised of a series of tactical modules, each corresponding to specific stages of post-attack recovery, types and duration of attack, audiences and aftermaths.

Finally, the project will develop a terrorism crisis communications manual and a comprehensive training and simulation program, including audio-visual training aids, to enable public authorities throughout Europe to develop, train and adapt their own terror crisis communication plans and incorporate them within their wider crisis plans.