RALEIGH, NC: Environmental Quality Industrial (EQ) has hired French/West/Vaughn to help with crisis communications and community outreach as it copes with the aftermath of a chemical fire at its facility in Apex, NC that led to the evacuation of the town's 17,000 residents.
EQ is an environmental services and waste management provider with 21 locations in the United States. The October 5 fire at its Apex, NC facility left thousands of disgruntled and displaced residents, many of whom were not aware that there was such a facility in their neighborhood.
Rick French, president and CEO of FWV, said that some of the agency's work so far has been to correct inaccurate reports by the media. Helping EQ, a company that has not done much marketing in the past, to reach out to the affected community has also been a priority.
"We've helped them to move into an apologetic role to the community," he said. "We simply want to assure the local residents that the company…was practicing proper safety procedure."
Part of that community outreach has included having EQ officials at a recent Apex town council meeting, where they addressed the concerns of the mayor, council, and residents.
Robert Doyle, marketing and communications manager at EQ Environmental Company, EQ's parent company, noted that while the company is concentrating on crisis communications at the moment, it will move into more of an educational effort to re-establish itself in the community.
"[We'll try] to get the word out that in order for people to enjoy their lifestyle… there are chemicals involved and… the by products need to be taken care of in an environmentally safe manner," he said. "That's an education that not only our company, but the waste industry would benefit [from]."