When sirens blare onsite, no one’s first thought is what to say into a reporter’s microphone. As events unfold and rumors swirl, however, communicating the facts effectively to the public becomes crucial.

To help professionals prepare for clear and confident communications in any situation, the Center for Risk Management at the Gulf Coast Safety Institute will offer a free eight-hour class, Public and Media Relation Skills for Safety and Health Communications. The class will be held Dec. 6 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the College of the Mainland Learning Resource Center Auditorium.

This class is designed for those who work in any industry. The training will help participants prepare for and respond to crises including plant closures, product recalls, accidents and financial challenges.

“All industries and businesses at some point may have to communicate with the media and the public,” said Cindy Lewis, director of the Gulf Coast Safety Institute. “This class will teach skills on how to do that, keeping in mind legal precautions and the protection of people involved.”

Al Setka from Wixted and Co. will conduct this training. Setka’s 20-year career in television and radio includes serving as news director at WHO-TV in Des Moines. Setka also garnered extensive media relations experience as communications director for a world-class scientific research center and as the public relations director at a marketing agency.

The class will show employees how to turn potential problems into opportunities to emphasize their organization’s mission and commitment to the community.

At the end of the day, attendees will leave armed with the knowledge and skills they need to communicate calmly and confidently in any crisis.

Advance registration is requested at riskmanagement@com.edu. For more information, contact SeAlice Hemphill at 409-933-8365 or shemphill@com.edu.

The Gulf Coast Safety Institute is located at College of the Mainland. Established in 2007, the institute focuses on providing safety and health education, training and outreach. For more information on the institute, contact Lewis at 409-933-8495 or clewis1@com.edu or visit www.com.edu/gcsi.