Comprehensive Crisis Planning

Arch Coal —Planning Example


In the wake of the Sago (West Virginia) Mine disaster and the secondary tragedy of the failed communications with families and media, the coal industry was awakened to the need for crisis management beyond emergency response. Arch Coal, Inc. asked Ann Green Communications to develop crisis communications plans for their 10 mines throughout the country and a plan for how regional and corporate offices should interface with the mines during a crisis.

Ann Green Communications visited 10 mines, interviewing management personnel and identifying potential problem areas in crisis communications. The firm’s team evaluated communications equipment capabilities, identified locations for media and families to gather, and helped managers determine Emergency Operations Center location and team members.

Additionally, the Ann Green Communications’ Crisis Consultants visited each mine site to train the Crisis Management Teams on the new plans and drill to assure the assignments and logistics would function properly.


The Arch Coal Mines were provided Crisis Management Plans and all the management teams were trained and drilled. As a result, the project enhanced the ability for team members to provide mutual aid to other Arch mines in the event of a major accident.

To test the plans, Arch conducted two Mine Emergency Rescue Drills (MERDs). Ann Green Communications provided “media” to create the intensity only media coverage can bring in a crisis. Mock news conferences were conducted and the firm’s “reporters” made efforts to get to family members and on mine property to test security measures and personnel response.

In addition, Ann Green Communications worked with mine personnel to simulate a family center atmosphere and test elements of the plan related to interaction with mine families affected by the emergency.

Ann Green Communications’ Crisis Consultants also were monitors, providing valuable feedback following the exercises.

The MERDs showed the crisis plans were well designed and properly executed.