Sample Press Release

Contacts for Boulder Flood Research


Instructions for the Coordinator

(August, 1994)

Greetings! Thank you for coordinating data collection efforts following the Boulder Creek Flood. You are asked to select and supervise four student field workers who, for two weeks following the flood, will gather data for the "Effects" section of the post-flood disaster pamphlet prepared under the direction of Gilbert White. You are also charged with the publication and distribution of this pamphlet to policy-makers, academics, and government officials involved in natural hazard mitigation efforts. As stated in the opening statement by Gilbert F. White, the purpose of the pamphlet is to outline the principal effects of the flood and record the major public choices that affected Boulder's vulnerability to such a major natural event.

    Information in this packet for you includes:

  1. Instructions for action following a major Boulder Creek flood (including access to funds, sources for student field workers, etc.)
  2. Outline of pamphlet contents
  3. Copies of completed pamphlet sections
  4. Publication procedures (in cooperation with Natural Hazards Center staff)
  5. Suggested distribution list (subject to any changes or additions that you deem advisable)
  6. Copies of materials to be given to student field workers (including suggested readings, sample press release describing the purpose of the research).

Data will be collected for the following topics under "Effects": Lives and Injuries, Property, Social Disruption, and Floodplain Habitat. Warning Systems is an additional topic that should be completed by any or all of the field workers with extra time following the completion of the first four topics. The student field workers are asked to gather data using the sheets provided, then write a brief summary report of findings. This report should include commentary on the limitations of the data results, given the time constraints. As coordinator, your specific challenges will be to:


  • carefully review the contents and directions contained in this notebook.
  • make any adaptations that you believe necessary, given the specific details of the flood event. (For example, add structures and improvements built after these instructions were compiled to the property damage survey and the habitat section, identify which individuals to contact for the section on impacts on personal lives, etc.).
  • write a descriptive summary of the flood event, perhaps using maps. This summary should show the existing floodplain, the course of the flood waters and should include details on volume, frequency, etc.
  • make available to the media a press release describing the research underway and its purpose.
  • help the student field workers understand the larger context of their individual efforts, answer any questions that may arise with regard to contacts, logistics, or interpretation of data and observations.
  • work out an appropriate "approachment stategy" for the student field workers to use as they carry out their tasks. Sensitivity and empathy will be needed in any contact with victims of a potentially catastrophic flood.
  • provide other forms of leadership, organization, and support.

    It is hoped that the pamphlet can be made available within four to six weeks following the flood event.

The impact of immediate post-evaluations such as this one may have an effect on floodplain policy and management in Boulder and in other areas where people live and work in floodplain zones. Your contribution to this effort is very important, and much appreciated. Thank you!