Abstract: In our modem society, the impact of large-scale spfety and security incidents can be large and diverse. Yet. this societal impact is makeable and controllable to a limited extent. At best, the effect of concrete response actions is that the direct damage is somewhat reduced and that the recovery is accelerated. Proper crisis communication can make the biggest difference with respect to overall societal impact. We argue that crisis communication must strike a balance between a directive approach of chaos, command and control and a more empathic approach of continuity, coordination and cooperation. On the basis of a concrete case we analyze how crisis communication reflects the incident response approach and how societal impact is affected.