Deploying communications staff

An Emergency Communications Officer may need to be deployed to meet CI communications requirements. Either through the Crisis Communications Group (CCG) call or in direct talks, the Lead Member and the CO, in consultation with the Regional Communications Advisor and CI Secretariat communications, will advise if they need support in deployment of an Emergency Communications Officer. If support is needed, the CI HR Coordinator will immediately consult with CI Secretariat Communications to determine who is best suited and available to deploy. An Emergency Communications Officer (ECO) will usually be deployed for two-three weeks to support CARE’s emergency response. If a CO does have a Communications Officer, they will work closely with the ECO. Deployment should follow the standard personnel deployment procedures as described in the CARE Emergency Toolkit Chapter 21: Human Resources.

If you are deploying as an Emergency Communications Officer, see the (What to do when deploying as an Emergency Communications Officer?) checklist. Funding for communications deployments should be covered by project proposals, or through interim funding through the Emergency Response Fund (ERF) or LM; if this is not possible, CI Secretariat communications can ask ERWG/COMWG members if they would be willing to contribute funds. See Communications Budget in Emergencies for cost estimates for communications positions. At the end of a deployment, the ECO must provide a written or verbal handover to CI Secretariat communications or the Regional Communications Advisor and whoever will be responsible for managing any future communications for the emergency, including the media log, updated media strategy (if available), and any outstanding tasks.

Whether or not to send an Emergency Communications Officer depends on:

  • size and scope of the emergency including anticipated impact;
  • capacity of the CO to manage communications needs;
  • potential for negative media coverage or risk to CARE’s programs and staff;
  • level of media and donor interest;
  • potential for the ECO to support CARE advocacy or fundraising objectives;
  • specific interest of one or more CI Members who are willing to offer communications capacity or funding to deploy an ECO;
  • uniqueness of CARE’s response (does CARE have a unique story to tell?)

Mega or “corporate” emergencies (Type 4): Additional communications support will be required for Type 4 emergencies. See Annex 13.5 Checklist for Type 4 mega-emergencies for full detail.

Ongoing or protracted emergencies: Emergency Communications Officer(s) are deployed for two-three weeks on a rotating basis during periods of high media interest or critical changes in the emergency; OR a national Communications Officer is hired and trained for longer-term coordination of the situation; OR funding is secured for a long-term deployment of an Emergency Communications Manager.

Go Kit for Emergency Communications Officer

The Emergency Communications Officer should be deployed with this equipment from their own office (see check list for Go Kit below). Clarify this when arranging deployment. Upon arrival in the CO, the Emergency Communications Officer should acquire a local mobile phone (prepaid or with sufficient credit); this will save enormously on international calls and provide an additional number to be reached on.


  • Make sure the Emergency Communications Officer is equipped with a Go Kit before deployment.

Checklist: Emergency Communications Officer Go Kit requirements

  • Laptop computer and charger (a car charger cable is also recommended)
  • Web cam and headset (for Skype calls and Skype video calls)
  • Basic stationary supplies (only necessary if responding in a location where CARE does not already have an office and supplies are likely unavailable)
  • Plug adapter and converter
  • Camera (4 megapixels minimum), extra batteries, charger, memory cards (2GB minimum).
  • Video camera or a camera that can also shoot video. A tripod. Extra batteries, charger, memory cards
  • Consent forms
  • Pin mike for use with mobile phones
  • Flash drives (memory stick)
  • Business cards
  • International cell phone and charger (a car charger cable is also recommended)
  • Satellite phone, depending on the location
  • CARE visibility materials including CARE t-shirts and caps, large CARE stickers (for cars and trucks) and
  • CARE flags (for food/relief item distribution points, warehouses, temporary office)
  • Flashlight/torch, mosquito net, bed sheet etc. depending on location