Crisis pros get ready: Y2K promises 19% more work

LOUISVILLE: If an industry projection released last week comes true, next year will be among the busiest ever for crisis communication specialists.

LOUISVILLE: If an industry projection released last week comes true, next year will be among the busiest ever for crisis communication specialists.

LOUISVILLE: If an industry projection released last week comes

true, next year will be among the busiest ever for crisis communication

specialists.



The Institute for Crisis Management is predicting a 19% jump in business

crisis events next year, largely owing to the anticipated aftermath of

Y2K computer problems.



’People need to think of this as an electronic blizzard,’ said institute

chairman Bob Irvine.



While Y2K problems may start cropping up when the clock strikes midnight

on New Year’s Eve, the real crisis crunch - in the form of class-action

lawsuits from people who were injured or financially damaged by

Y2K-related incidents - will not surface for at least six months.

’That’s when the feeding frenzy is going to start,’ Irvine

predicted.



He noted that every class-action suit announced in 1999 generated an

average of 2.43 news stories, receiving far more coverage than other

business crises. With the number of class-action suits up significantly

in 1999 from past years, Irvine said that considerable damage could

result to the reputations of individuals and companies not ready for

possible Y2K disruptions.



To prepare, Irvine suggested that companies should attempt to devise

crisis containment strategies well in advance, and plan to be in contact

with their entire supply chain on January 1. Also, finding out about

problems as they occur - rather than months later from the attorney for

a disgruntled supplier - is crucial.



’A lot of people are talking about having their executives available at

12:01 on New Year’s Day, but that’s not realistic,’ Irvine said, noting

that the real work will be done over the New Year’s weekend and the

following week.



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