Policy Areas Secure and Safe joined their forces in June 2018 to organise a live demonstration of a rescue exercise. The live demonstration was organised during the 9th EUSBSR Annual Forum thus providing a very apt audience for the event. The event featured very successful storytelling techniques and received a lot of media publicity.

Live demonstration


The exercise's fictional - but possible - scenario was storytelling at its best:

"Two ships collide in a European port causing a barrel with unknown, potentially dangerous chemicals to fall aboard. A Border Guard Patrol vessel arrives to investigate the situation. Specially equipped divers are needed to recover the barrel safely and the neighbouring country’s authorities are contacted for assistance. A vessel from the neighbouring country’s coast guard arrives shortly, carrying a team of divers, while a decontamination station is being set up on the shore to clean the crew and the divers of any chemical residue."

The brains behind the event's communication, PA Secure Coordinator Andriy Martynenko, shares eight crucial points for successful communication of the event:

1. AUDIENCE

From the beginning we kept in mind the audience – what would they like to see? What
kind of message should we send to them? Our message was focused on showing concrete
results of projects: “European cooperation in action!”, “You are safer because these
professionals from several countries work together”.

 

2. COORDINATION

One of the success factors with so many partners involved was several teleconferences
and one “off-line” planning meeting, during which we could agree on all of the aspects of
the event, including communications. It was also important, in our opinion, to assign one
coordinator for the event, who would keep track of all the preparations and planning.

 

3. SCENARIO

A detailed scenario of the event was created jointly from the start, keeping in mind
communication aspects, from promotion to post-event reporting.

 

4. BUZZ

We created a buzz on the social media some time in advance, using attractive visuals and
catchy phrases (“Two ships collide in a European port causing a barrel with unknown,
potentially dangerous chemicals to fall aboard”) plus a press-release, written in “plain”
language, avoiding all the professional lingo.

 

5. INVOLVEMENT

To maximise the outreach, we tried to involve the communication departments/officers
of all involved organisations and projects early in the process. For example, thanks to
good cooperation with the Estonian MFA’s communication dept, we suggested people for
potential media interviews in advance.


6. BALANCING THEORY WITH PRACTICE

Keeping a healthy ratio of “theory” and “practice” was important to us, our session
started with a panel discussion and finished with a live demo.

 

7. LIVE NARRATIVE

Live narration played a very important part in the demonstration. To watch an exercise
without any explanations would have been confusing to the audience, not familiar with
rescue operations.

 

8. REAL EXERCISE

It was crucial to all the involved projects and organisations that the demonstration
would be a real exercise, not organised just for the spectators. This way no extra
resources were spent “just for the show”, all the manoeuvres were part of the projects’
activities, with an added promotional bonus.

 

The live demo was live streamed on Facebook and the video is still available at PA Secure's Facebook page. 

Tallinna TV (in Estonian) reported from the demo, please follow this link (starting 06:53). Including interviews with Danel Tüür and Jürgen Krempin as well!

A very nice blog post at PA Secure's website gives more detailed description of the event.