This review defines crisis risk communication, traces its origins to a number of applied fields, and then shows how basic principles have become incorporated into emergency preparedness and risk communication for public health. Literature from four different disciplines that inform crisis risk communications are reviewed. These are (a) environmental risk communication, (b) disaster management, (c) health promotion and communication, and (d) media and communication studies. Current curricula and training materials are briefly reviewed. Although this literature review suggests much progress has been made to incorporate and disseminate crisis risk communication principles into public health practice, and case studies suggest that public health workers have gained skills and experience, this emerging field still lacks in-depth evaluation of the effectiveness of event-specific crisis risk communication efforts.