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Recovers website governance template

Posted on March 19, 2019


Recovers website governance template

This recovers website governance template was adapted with permission from the original policy developed by the Marin Recovers. It was used to help socialize and get buy-in throughout Marin County (Calif.) on governance and protocol ahead of a disaster so that a plan could be acted on if needed. The Marin Recovers team has graciously shared their work for other communities to build on and contribute back to.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


[Agency] Recovers Website Governance

Drafted by

  • [Name], [Title], [Agency or City]
  • [Name], [Title], [Agency or City]

Reviewed and approved by

  • [Agency] Steering Committee on [Date]

Revisions

This is a living document that might have frequent updates to remain relevant due to the ever-changing nature of the internet and the way information is shared in our communities.

Goal

The purpose of this policy is to establish parameters whereby administrators of the [Agency] Recovers website are able to utilize the website to disseminate information in the event of a large-scale, multi-jurisdictional emergency or disaster.

Scope

These guidelines address the official use of the the [Agency] Recovers website and applies to all administrators of the website when acting on behalf of the participating agencies.

Participating agencies

  • [Agency or City]

Purpose

The purpose of the [Agency] Recovers website is to provide a centralized resource during and after a multi-jurisdictional disaster with up-to-date information from local governments, public safety agencies and public information officers about response and recovery efforts.

The purpose of this policy is to establish guidelines for the use of the website, in agreement with all participating agencies.

Ownership

The ownership of the website content shall be shared by the participating agencies.

General policy

The [Agency] Recovers website Steering Committee shall coordinate the creation, administration and maintenance of the website and its content. The Steering Committee shall monitor content to ensure adherence to this policy for appropriate use.

Content

The [Agency] Recovers website shall post content that consists of up-to-date information from local governments, public safety agencies and public information officers about response and recovery efforts during and after a multi-jurisdictional disaster.

Content vetting

Before the incident – Content is vetted by the Steering Committee. During/after the incident – Content is vetted and approved by the lead PIO of the JIC before being made public.

Link requests: Every request by a person or entity to have [Agency] Recovers provide a link from its website to the requesting party’s website must undergo review to determine its relevance and appropriateness to the [Agency] Recovers website purpose (stated above). The Steering Committee will review the merits of the requested link to determine whether the link serves the overall purpose of the website.

Dormant site policy

Pre-Incident

The dormant site shall be password protected with a landing page that states:

“The [Agency] Recovers website is currently dormant. It will be activated in the event of a multi-jurisdictional disaster with up-to-date information from local governments, public safety agencies and public information officers about response and recovery efforts. If you are seeking information about a specific incident, please contact your local jurisdiction for information. You can also monitor local news for alerts and notifications and follow directions of local emergency officials.”

Post-incident/pre-launch

While the team is working to get the site ready, the site will be password protected with a landing page that states:

“This site is being updated to provide up-to-date information from local governments, public safety agencies and public information officers about response and recovery efforts. Monitor local news for alerts and notifications and follow directions of local emergency officials.”

Launch policy

The [Agency] Recovers website Steering Committee will convene and agree as a group if and when the website will be launched. The Steering Committee will also identify which agencies will be active users of the site, for cost sharing purposes.

Essential “triggers” to launch the website may include:

Main event Plus one or more of these
Multi-jurisdictional disaster event impacting the geographic area under the authority of at least two agencies Activation of two or more agency EOCs
County opens a Joint Information Center (JIC)
Large-scale evacuations (more than 1,000 homes)
Multi-district school closures
Multi-casualty event
An event that draws widespread public interest and media attention

Special considerations

  1. Jurisdictions that have limited outreach ability (i.e. crashed website) during an emergency but do not meet the criteria listed above may request website launch to the members of the Steering Committee. Steering Committee members will consider the requests on a case-by-case basis.
  2. The website may be launched in a “beta” testing phase during a minor multi-jurisdictional crisis event (such as a large storm) to allow participating agencies to learn best practices in a more routine, less intensive situation.

Upon launch, active/participating agencies shall use their individual websites and social media platforms to point users to the [Agency] Recovers website for updates and information.

Template language for pointing to the [Agency] Recovers site:

“Please visit the [Agency] Recovers website for up-to-date information from local governments, public safety agencies and public information officers about response and recovery efforts. The [Agency] Recovers website is designed to provide a centralized resource during and after a multi-jurisdictional disaster.”

News releases

Multi-jurisdictional

General information news releases that impact multiple jurisdictions shall be joint JIC produced messages to reduce redundancy and to consolidate information.

Examples:

  • Procedures for boiling water
  • Locations of county-wide shelters

Agency specific

News releases that are specific to a jurisdiction/agency shall be given a specific name/category to allow residents to find them easily. These news releases shall only include info specific to a agency/jurisdiction.

Examples:

  • “Mayor of [City] Makes Statement to Residents in Flooded Neighborhood”
  • “[City] CERT Team Activated – Report to City Hall”

Launch plan

  • Steering Committee convenes and gives the green light
  • Contact ProudCity
  • Assemble project team
  • Content changes (i.e. Change homepage language, update site)
  • Special considerations
  • Communications plan: Social/email/partner website

Launch communications plan

Participating agencies will use their outreach methods to advertise and promote the [Agency] Recovers website on all relevant platforms (i.e. social/email/partner website).

eNewsletter

The eNewsletter will be published through a subscriber opt-in process.

Ownership

The ownership of the [Agency] Recovers newsletter, email list and content shall be shared by the participating agencies. The [Agency] Recovers email list shall be used solely for [Agency] Recovers purposes and shall not be shared or sold to any other agency or company.

General policy

The [Agency] Recovers website Steering Committee shall coordinate the creation, administration and maintenance of the newsletter and its content. The Steering Committee shall monitor content to ensure adherence to this policy for appropriate use.

Use/operations

Based on the nature of the emergency, the JIC team or the lead agency will determine certain features and functions of the eNewsletter at the time of the response and recovery.

These may include:

  • Frequency of eNewsletter releases (i.e. after each news item is posted or in a digest form at the end of the day/week).
  • Development of specific content groups for eNewsletter releases (i.e. General information, Shelter Updates, Volunteer Updates).

Project email

The [Agency] Recovers website shall have a generic email address (i.e. info@[Agency]recovers.org). A lead staff person (or staff persons) shall be the primary facilitator(s) of this email account, to be determined by the Steering Committee.

All emails sent and received by this account which are intended to be retained in the ordinary course of business are recognized as official records that require protection, retention, and disclosure in accordance with the California Public Records Act.

Go to dormant

The [Agency] Recovers website Steering Committee will convene and agree as a group if and when the website will be removed from public access and returned to a dormant state.

Triggers include:

  • Analytics demonstrate low usage – signs of a steady decrease or clear stagnation of use.
  • Public comment/confusion

Go to dormant plan

  • Transition phase to dormant (redirecting to supporting agencies)
  • Actual dormant
  • Landing page that points people to the agencies that would will be providing ongoing support.

Maintenance plan (dormant site)

Members of the agencies will sign up for maintenance duties after the website is finished and ready in its dormant state, which will include:

  • Reviewing content for outdated info
  • Checking links
  • Updating contact information
  • Periodic log-in drills and training refresher courses

Steering Committee members will develop a toolkit with legacy info (email, passwords, log ins, etc).

Maintenance plan (active site)

Based on the experience from SonomaRecovers.org, the active site may be up and running for a year or more. During this extended period of activity, members of the participating/active agencies will be responsible for maintenance duties, which will include:

  • Reviewing and updating content
  • Checking links
  • Updating contact information
  • Content around tips and best practices
  • Training new users as needed
  • Broken images or files
  • Other?

Cost sharing

Cost for the dormant site is $x per month. The County of [Agency] has agreed to support the cost of the dormant site. Cost for the active site is $y per month. At the launch of the site, the Steering Committee will identify the agencies that will be primary/active users of the site during the incident, and costs will be assigned proportionally by Agency population. Primary contact for billing will be the County of [Agency]. See Appendix A for additional information.

Other general policy

[Agency] Recovers website content shall:

  • Comply with applicable federal, state and local laws, regulations, and policies.
  • Respect copyright and fair use laws.
  • Not engage in political or religious advocacy or commentary or support or oppose any ballot issue or candidate for office.
  • Use “Plain Language” best practices and refrain from ethnic slurs, personal insults, obscenity or engage in any conduct that would not be acceptable in the workplace.
  • Demonstrate proper consideration for others’ privacy and for topics that may be considered objectionable or inflammatory.
  • Not provide confidential information about individuals, including names, or use such material as part of any content added to a site.
  • Not provide confidential or proprietary information that would compromise negotiations or including such as part of content added to a site without permission to publish or report on conversations that are meant to be private or internal.

Definitions

  • Agency – A government agency – a permanent or semi-permanent government organization responsible for the oversight and administration of specific or general municipal functions.
  • Casualty – A person killed or severely injured as a result of the incident or disaster.
  • Disaster – A sudden event, such as an accident or natural catastrophe, that causes great disruption to the community, suffering, damage or loss of life that exceed a community’s ability to cope using personal resources.
  • EOC – Emergency Operations Center
  • JIC – Joint Information Center
  • Multi-jurisdictional – Of or pertaining to more than one agency jurisdiction.

License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Acknowledgements

This template was adapted with permission from the original governance developed by the Marin Recovers. It was used to help socialize and get buy-in throughout the county on governance and protocol ahead of a disaster so that a plan could be acted on if needed, and the Marin Recovers team has graciously shared their for other communities to build on and contribute back to.

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