Major incident press release template

Major incident press release template helps you prepare your business for the worst. After a business interruption, critical event, a public communication may be necessary. Therefore, guidance on what to say and what not to say is crucial.

The major incident press release template tells you:

  • What to say to the press
  • Questions to expect
  • How to prepare
Major Incident Press Release template - what to say and what not to say, with download tempalte

Video transcript: Major incident press release guide


Hi, I’m Andrew and I’m here to take us through the Major Incident Press Release Guide. This guide is intended for you whether or not you have something like a catastrophic disaster or you’ve just had a really, really bad day in the office.


Before you issue your press release you need to think about in what order you’re going to talk about things and as a general rule of thumb the public wants to know about- things in this order number one, people: what’s been the impact of the major incidents on people. Then the impact on the environment, thirdly the impact on property and finally any financial impact of the major incident. Now we know about the sequence in which to speak lets give some thought to the things that we should and we should not do with our press release.


Firstly let’s look at the do’s. Do, if you have the money, employ an expert. If you take any questions from an interviewer, ask them first, what do they know about the event before you tell them what you know about the event. Record everything that you say and do prepare. Which normally means you have to go through the five W’s and the one H. That is the what, when, where, who, and why, and finally the one H, the how.


Don’ts! Do not ascribe liability or ascribe liability to yourself. Do not go into graphic detail about the events and do not be too negative. We do not want to be like Tony Hayward who was the C.E.O. of BP in when the Deepwater Horizon disaster occurred. This disaster led to the death of people and a major oil spill. And shortly after these events he said the following . There’s no one who wants this thing over more than I do. I’d like my life back. This is not a good tone. Nor is it a good idea to do what the CEO of Hypersocial Braden Wallake did which was to post this image of himself crying. He posted this selfie online after he sacked a load of people. Again, this didn’t really set the tone very well.

More information

If you want the full details of the press release, do visit our website and download the template and find out an exhaustive list on all the do’s and the don’ts. You can find that template and all the help that you need go to Getsirv. Just go to the blog. If you have any questions or queries do get in touch and if you like this post please do comment. Thanks for watching.

What is a press release?

A press release is a communication with the public through journalists or media publishers. It aims to get your message across to protect your organisation’s reputation and reduce the financial and operational impact.

Below are two examples of press releases issued after the 2017 terrorist bombing of the Manchester Arena.

MAJOR INCIDENT PRESS RELEASE Manchester arena bombing 2017 view of concert in an arena

PRESS RELEASE  – Terrorist Attack on Manchester Arena

Press Release

Re: Coordination Council of Mosques’ Position on Terrorist Attack on Manchester Arena
We are appalled by the terrorist attack in Manchester on Monday night in which innocent civilians were injured and precious lives lost.
We unequivocally condemn the attack and reiterate our firm position that there is no justification for such criminal acts against civilians and civilian institutions.
Our prayers and thoughts are with the victims and their families.
We pay tribute to our emergency services and law enforcement authorities for their efforts and hard work in reaching out to those in need of care and protection.
Coordination Council of Mosques
London Central Mosque
Al Muntada Trust
Al Manar Mosque
North London Mosque

Muslim Welfare House


US Embassy Press release 2017 Manchester arena bombing

23 May 2017
Security Message for U.S. Citizens:
Update on Incident at Manchester Arena

(updated at 13:55 BST)

The U.S. Embassy in London informs U.S. citizens of a major incident that occurred on the night of May 22 at Manchester Arena in Manchester.  U.S. citizens are advised to avoid the area, heed instructions from UK police and government authorities, and maintain security awareness.  Review your personal security plans, remain aware of your surroundings, especially in crowds or at large events, and monitor local news sources for updates.  Be vigilant and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security.

  • According to the Greater Manchester Police, the area around Manchester Arena and Manchester’s Victoria Train Station remains cordoned off. Media reports indicate that train services at Victoria Train are cancelled on Tuesday, May 23.
  • The Greater Manchester Police advise the public to follow Transport for Greater Manchester for public transport updates. Be aware that it may be difficult to move around the city.

We strongly encourage U.S. citizens in the United Kingdom to directly contact family members in the United States to advise them of your safety.

The most accurate real-time information on security matters is available from UK authorities, who have responsibility for the safety and security of all persons in the United Kingdom.

For more information

  • See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and United Kingdom Country Specific Information.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in London, located at 24 Grosvenor Square, London, W1K 2LQ, at +44 (0) 20 7499 9000, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday or by email at The after-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens in need of urgent assistance is:  +44 (0) 20 7499 9000.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
  • Follow us on Twitter and Facebook
  • If you are worried about loved ones who may have been at #ManchesterArena you can call UK number 0161-856-9400 (outside the UK:  +44-161-856-9400)
Major Incident Press release template Tony Hayward CEO BP Press release disaster

Poor communication

In 2010 after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, the BP CEO Tony Hayward, made this statement and soon after was forced to resign.

Major incident press release template guidance

Ideally only staff that have been media trained should manage media releases. If you’re not media trained limit your focus on the facts.

Questions you should expect

  1. What happened
  2. How did it happen?
  3. When and where did it happen?
  4. Why did it happen?
  5. Who is to blame?
  6. What are you going to do about it? (how will you stop it happening again)

The media will expect you to address issues in the following order of priorities:

  1. People
  2. Environment
  3. Property
  4. Money


Major incident Press release template mistakes braden-wallake-crying-selfie-ceo-linkedin-hypersocial/

Wrong approach

In 2022 Hypersocial CEO Braden Wallake set the wrong tone when he announced the sacking of staff while posting a selfie online of him crying.

    What to do in advance

    • Find out what the media deadlines are and manage expectations around them.
    • Control events by issuing statements / interviews to according to your schedule.
    • Should an impromptu interview be requested try and delay it to fit in with your schedule, if you accept the interview ensure you find out what are the requirements of the interview.
    • Establish the known consequences
    • Confirm what [YOUR ORGANISATION] is doing to remedy the situation
    • Establish what [YOUR ORGANISATION] can say about developments

    On first encounter with someone from the media find out:

    • What the they understand has happened
    • Seek to understand why they’re going to ask you questions
    • Prepare the three key points you want to say
    • Prepare for the three questions you do not want to be asked

    Do’s and Don’ts


    • Record what you say
    • Bring in expert advise if necessary
    • Display concern – care about what has happened and be sympathetic
    • Show commitment – to find out what happened and put it right
    • Display control of the situation at the most senior level
    • Be available and co-operative
    • Be positive and truthful

    Press release available on your phone

    The SIRV Procedures module offers your major incident press release template and guidance on mobile app.

    Decision tree procedure business continuity plan mobile app cropped


    • Admit liability
    • Give graphic descriptions
    • Refuse to answer any questions
    • Blame another organisation for difficulties
    • Repeat negative or inflammatory words used by a reporter

    Don’t Forget:

    • Do not speculate, focus on the facts
    • Manage and control the release of information
    • Consistency of response from [YOUR ORGANISAITON] is critical

    Major incident press release template

    [YOUR ORGANISATION NAMR] is sorry to say its business at [LOCATIONS EFFECTED] has been:

    • Temporarily closed owing to [INCIDENT DESCRIPTION]…… [OR]
    • Closed for the foreseeable future owing to [INCIDENT DESCRIPTION]………… [OR]
    • Suspended OWING TO [INCIDENT DESCRIPTION] ………………[OR]
    • Other

    The incident began [TIME] on [MONTH] [YEAR]

    Our Employees

    Employees will be contacted by their manager, if they’re not contacted within [X] hours they should call the number below.


    Relatives and Friends of Employees

    If you have any concerns, please call [NUMBER OR VISIT XXXX]

    Customers and Suppliers

    If you have any concerns, please call [NUMBER OR VISIT XXXX]

    • There have been no injuries/fatalities [OR]
    • There have been injuries/fatalities totalling [NUMBER OR VISIT XXXX]

    The Police / authorities / H&S Executive are investigating the cause of the incident with the full co-operation of the organisation.

    We are implementing a business recovery plan and are contacting:

    [YOUR ORGANISATION] has a business resilience plan and it has been invoked. Contact can be made at ………………………………………….. Tel ………………………….. from ……….am/pm on ……………………..

    A further announcement will be made as soon as possible.

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