When crises occur, we are often left wondering who to call first and how to properly respond. We are pleased to now have a plan in place that can be followed to ensure that the matter is handled with the utmost care. There’s even a page at the end to include your own important club’s contact info. You’ll want to get familiar with this new resource for clubs. 
Note: This document is also available on the District Website under Member Resources.
Tragedy and crisis can strike at any time. Many types of event could be the cause of a situation that would place a Rotary club officer or board member, an entire club, the District Governor or other Rotarians in a situation that requires their utmost and immediate attention.   Examples of such events include a traffic accident, a violent crime, a youth protection issue or a simple case of bad judgment; a natural disaster such as a hurricane, earthquake or flood; or an event caused by an action or inaction of a Rotarian or non-Rotarian.
When such an event occurs, it is important to have a plan in place that can be followed to ensure that the matter is handled with the utmost care. Key objectives are to ensure that those involved in the incident are kept safe, that communication with those who need to know is completed quickly and professionally, and that other action is taken swiftly and professionally when needed.
Additionally, in our internet-driven information age, written and video content can be transmitted in a matter of seconds, which makes it important that when a crisis erupts, our Rotary district responds with a clear message, presented honestly and in a timely manner.
What Constitutes a Crisis?
A “crisis” for the purposes of implementing the Rotary District 5495 crisis plan is an unanticipated, unusual event or occurrence arising out of, or closely related to, a Rotary Club project, event, or program that results in, or is likely to result in, physical or psychological harm, serious injury, or death to a participant, or that is or can be detrimental to the public image of Rotary. Examples include a death or injury stemming either from natural disasters impacting a Rotary project, event, or program (such as fire, flood or earthquake) or human caused (such as accidental or intentional mass casualty event). A “crisis” can include suspected illegal activities where the victim or suspected perpetrator is a Rotarian, a Rotary club, or the District; or other event that involves a Rotarian, a Rotary club, or the District that impacts persons or property in a substantial, negative manner.
These events may involve youth involved in Rotary functions and activities, such as RYLA students, Interactors and Rotary Youth Exchange students, but not necessarily. Such youth programs have carefully designed youth protection plans that take precedence over this plan and that are to be followed prior to implementing this plan.
Purpose of this Policy
In the event of a “crisis” it is imperative to operate pursuant to established guidelines to ensure the communication of accurate, timely, and consistent information to Rotarians and the public, and to provide for the immediate care and protection of all individuals involved in the situation, as well as their families. 
It is always the policy of District 5495 to deliver the highest level of transparency and cooperation consistent with applicable law and government policy.
Policy and Parameters
  1. The District Governor currently in office is the only officer of Rotary International in the District. As such, he or she is the main contact between the District and RI and between the District and the Club, event or activity manager of the Rotary activity involved when a crisis occurs.
  2. The District Governor holds final responsibility for Crisis Management in District 5495. In the absence of the District Governor, or in the case of his or her inability to act, then, the following individuals, in the order listed, shall hold final responsibility:
    1. The Immediate Past District Governor
    2. The Vice Governor
    3. The District Governor-Elect
  3. The District Governor will annually appoint a Crisis Management Advisory Team as part of the District Leadership Team to provide support and guidance as needed.
  4. Only the District Governor or his/her designate as set forth in paragraph 2, above, will activate the Crisis Management Advisory Team, or individual members of the team, when required.
  5. An individual Rotary club’s president or designee will represent an individual club if the incident requires, as requested by the District Governor.
Crisis Management Advisory Team
The Crisis Management Advisory Team appointed by the District Governor each year will consist of:
  1. The District Governor as Chair
  2. The District Governor-Elect, serving as the Assistant to the District Governor
  3. The Immediate Past District-Governor
  4. The District Vice-Governor
  5. The District Youth Protection Officer
  6. An attorney at law who is familiar with local law and can give immediate advice as to confidentiality, potential legal action and liability. It may be helpful to appoint an attorney from both Arizona and Nevada.
  7. The District Public Image Chair
  8. A district Spokesperson who may serve as liaison to the media.
In addition, others may be asked to serve on the Crisis Management Team for a specific incident as required and determined by the District Governor:
  1. The Assistant Governor, if the incident reported happens in a distant community where local presence is important.
  2. The chair of the committee responsible for the activity where the incident originated, if applicable.
  3. Others at the request of the District Governor, including the District-governor Nominee.
If a Crisis Develops
  1. The Rotary club president or other Rotarian who becomes aware of a crisis situation shall immediately contact and consult with the District Governor. If the District Governor is not available, the next person on the list of designated individuals with final responsibility for that year is contacted in the order listed. All youth program staff shall follow the detailed reporting procedures of their individual program.
  2. The District Governor or designee determines the need to consult the crisis management team, and decides if the team or certain members of the team should be activated. The District Governor has sole discretion as to which members of the team, if any, should be activated.
  3. In situations requiring law enforcement or other emergency service involvement, the Crisis Management Team will cooperate with law enforcement in all respects and follow the direction of responsible law enforcement and emergency officials.
  4. The District Governor will contact Rotary International and the RI Director.
  5. The District Governor will confirm that law enforcement has been contacted, if applicable and not already involved.
  6. The District Governor will designate a Rotary incident spokesperson. This should be someone who is on top of the issue, communicates well, and is comfortable interacting with the media.
  7. The District Governor will ask presidents and assistant governors to communicate appropriate and approved information to affected clubs, and instruct all Rotary club members to refer press inquiries to the spokesperson.
  8. The District Governor may communicate with Assistant Governors, District Leadership Team members, clubs and/or individual Rotarians if needed.
  9. The District Governor will direct the Spokesperson to prepare a statement that accurately states the facts, expresses Rotary’s position, and conveys the appropriate tone (sympathy, apology, commitment, etc.) and develop key messages to help the spokesperson convey Rotary’s position consistently and accurately. The spokesperson will update the statement as needed.
  10. The District Governor will seek further assistance from RI regarding media inquiries as needed.
If the Media Contacts You First
If a Rotary club president, event or activity chair or some other Rotarian is contacted by the media, please keep the following guidelines in mind:
  1. Follow the protocols set out above. Do not issue a statement or make any comment to the media other than referring them to the appropriate Rotary spokesperson.
  2. Immediately contact the District Governor or designate, even if in doubt of the urgency or importance of the matter. Let those responsible make the decisions as to urgency and importance.
  3. Immediately refer any media contact to the District Governor, or in an on-going situation, designated District Spokesperson. If you need time to confirm or determine the District Governor or Spokesperson’s contact information, tell the reporter you will call back promptly.
  4. Respond to all media inquiries promptly, but unless specifically authorized to communicate with the media, they should be referred to the designated Rotary spokesperson. Ignoring media can contribute to unnecessary speculation, but it is the responsibility of the District Spokesperson to communicate the facts and positions of Rotary to the media. If you are not the District Spokesperson, relay the contact information to the Spokesperson.
  5. The District Governor and/or Spokesperson will be completely honest and truthful, will not say anything he/she is unsure of and will not cover up or make excuses.
  6. The District Governor or Spokesperson will represent Rotary.  When they speak, they ARE Rotary. No personal observations or speculations will be issued.
  7. Monitor the media’s local coverage of the issue for accuracy and tone. If Rotary is misrepresented, let the Spokesperson know who will convey the concern to the District Governor for action, if needed.
  8. Remember that nothing said to the media is “off the record”.
A Final Word
Remember: Clubs, district committees and individuals are NOT to handle any crisis alone! District 5495 and Rotary International have first responders who can relieve you of the worry of facing the media when your attention is needed dealing with the actual crisis. The District Governor may decide what is the most appropriate course of action. Contact your DG as soon as a crisis develops.
Club Crisis Management Contact List 2017-18
Complete this form and make it available to your Club Board, Committee Chairs, and Members
Rotary Club­­­­­­­ of:    
Club President
Past President
Assistant Governor
Public Image Chair
Law Enforcement
DISTRICT LEADERSHIP:  Call Order of Contacts for 2017-2018
1. District Governor                              Nancy Van Pelt       480-239-0659           DGNancy5495@gmail.com
2. DG-Elect                                               Jim Erickson            414-916-8830           mrfun22481@mac.com
3. Vice-Governor                                    Sherry Mischel        602-510-3339           sherry5510@cox.net        
4.Youth Protection Officer        Larry Horton            602-363-9440           ppd918@mac.com