3. Deploying communications staff

Most COs do not employ a full-time national Communications Officer, so an Emergency Communications Officer may need to be deployed to meet CI communications requirements. Either through the CCG call or in direct talks, the Lead Member and the CO, in consultation with CEG Communications, will advise if they need support in deployment of an Emergency Communications Officer. If support is needed, the CEG HR Coordinator will immediately consult with CEG Communications to determine who is best suited and available to deploy. An Emergency Communications Officer 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, CEG 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 CEG Communications 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 CIMs 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.

The Emergency Communications Officer should be deployed with this equipment from their own office. 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 to before deployment.
  • Upon arrival in the CO, the CO should provide the Emergency Communications Officer with a local mobile phone.

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)
  • Printer and printer paper, 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. Extra batteries, charger, memory cards.
  • 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/NFI distribution points, warehouses, temporary office)
  • Flashlight/torch, mosquito net, bed sheet etc. depending on location

In order to contract a professional photographer (and possibly videographer) as quickly as possible after it is clear that fast onset emergency will receive significant media coverage, the responsibility to do so is shared between three CARE members geographically as follows:

Region Office-in-Charge
Asia and the Pacific CARE Australia
Middle East and Africa CARE International UK
Latin America and the Caribbean CARE USA

The initial judgement on whether to contract a photographer will be made by the Office-in-Charge of contract. If the initial decision is not to hire a photographer, this decision will revisited if necessary based on input from CEG and other CARE members.

A joint list of trusted photographers ranked by preference for each region or country is/will be established and made available to all of these offices. Once a photographer is contracted, the CEG Media and Communications Coordinator (or deployed Emergency Communications Officer) will have primary responsibility for following up, providing the photographer with guidance and ensuring timely delivery in accordance with the TOR and CARE guidelines, but sharing this responsibility as appropriate in line with the Follow-the-Sun protocol for emergency communication (see section 1.3 above).