Crisis management expert gives firsthand account of '96 attack - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Crisis management expert gives firsthand account of '96 Olympic terror attack

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Atlanta is no stranger to bomb attacks at a major sports event.

The Olympic Park bombing rocked the city in 1996.

That terrorist attack shared eerie similarities with Monday's explosions at the Boston Marathon.

Both bombings happened at major international sports events and both killed at least two people and injured more than 100.

Kimberly Krautter, a crisis management expert, was handling public relations at the Olympic Village in 1996 and was in the tower where the bomb exploded.

"It's the worst possible scenario, even if you have a plan, you don't expect something like this to happen," Krautter said. "The first thing that happens in an event like this is a million different questions from a million different directions."

Krautter, like the organizers at the Boston Marathon, immediately had to switch into emergency mode.

She said the first thing to do is put a plan in place - identify where your first responders are and how to get them where they're needed most.

"You have first responders taking the injured to many different locations. You also have one person in place to be the single point contact to the first responder communities," Krautter said.

That point person must clearly and effectively communicate to keep the emergency plan running smoothly.

"Controlling the message is very important, not to spin or not to dissuade anybody from asking a question, but just give respect to know a question is valid and confidence to know it will be answered when answers are available," Krautter said.

And, Krautter said, crisis teams must act as conduits between law enforcement and the public.

"We made available a place for people where they could file police reports that could be given to law enforcement we placed receptacles just outside investigation zone so people could put in their cameras and their film," Krautter said.

Krautter said crisis teams in Boston should encourage the public to bring in cell phone camera video to law enforcement. That can help police look for anything that seems even slightly out of the ordinary and possibly help solve the case.

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