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On April 6, 2018, the unimaginable happened when the Humboldt Broncos bus collided with a semi-truck at a quiet remote intersection in northeast Saskatchewan. Sixteen of the twenty-nine people on the bus were killed – the remaining thirteen were left with lasting physical and emotional scars.
Worldwide media descended on Humboldt and thousands of shocked and saddened people from near and far inundated the team, families and community with heartfelt condolences, financial support and gifts.
The team’s volunteer directors were quickly overwhelmed and at wits end trying to support the families, manage the crisis and respond to questions – all while themselves grieving the loss of so many from their closely-knit team. No crisis plan existed; website and social media passwords were known only to people who were lost in the crash; families, fans, the community and the hockey world were demanding answers; hundreds of reporters were calling incessantly. The world was watching….
That was the situation that the team from Takt Communications stepped into when they began working with the Humboldt Broncos organization immediately after the crash. The tragedy and its aftermath became one of the most widely publicized stories in Canadian history and, almost a year later, continues to be actively covered by media organizations around the world.
Some of the take-aways from the presentation include:
- Communications Triage – learn how the Takt team quickly determined communications priorities and assigned tasks under tight time constraints and with world’s media on the doorstep.
- The Crisis Within the Crisis – learn how the lack of crisis communication plan and the dispersed group of grieving families greatly complicated crisis management efforts, and how this issue was overcome.
- Keeping the World on Your Side – the hockey community came together in a huge way to support the Humboldt Broncos. Hear about the heartwarming outpouring of support from empathetic hockey fans from around the world and the challenges that were faced accommodating requests, managing the financial and in-kind gifts, and showing the appropriate gratitude.
About Grant Bastedo, APR:
Grant is travelling across Canada in 2019 sharing the lessons he and his team learned while managing the April 6, 2018 Humboldt Broncos crisis. His presentation “Staying Strong: Crisis management lessons learned in the midst of the Humboldt Bronco tragedy” will give you a behind the scenes look of what it’s like to deal with a major crisis and how Takt’s small team overcame seemingly insurmountable issues under intense time pressures.
After 28 years working in public relations and communications, Grant is no stranger to crisis management. However, nothing had prepared him for the magnitude and scope of this tragedy – every other crisis paled in comparison. Grant’s presentation shares insights, so others may be better prepared when they experience crisis situations.