FEMA Basic PIO course at the PSOC

Morning start to the FEMA Basic Public Information Officer course at the Public Safety Operations Center (PSOC)

Welcome and good morning by Mr. JB himself!

Packed house with multiple disciplines represented from Fire, EMS, Police, Emergency Management, ESF-12, higher education, Search and Rescue, Coroners Office, etc…

Like a good Emergency Manager, I found the EOC.

They have soooo many tools and toys to play with!

As all FEMA Basic PIO courses, we are staunch advocates of putting all participants in front of the camera. No matter what kind of experience level or years in the position, you can always learn by practicing your skills in front of others.

We typically hear complaints.

  • I didn’t get enough time to prepare.
  • I didn’t get the information in time.
  • I don’t know anything about plane crashes!

Blah blah blah. But the reality of the situation is….IT HAPPENS LIKE THAT IN REAL LIFE!!!!!!!!

So yeah, we want to train like you fight.

For those that were wondering “Has this ever happened before?” Yes.

Looking forward to tomorrow day-2 with our news media panel, interview reviews, and focus on social media.

@rusnivek

Teaching moment for PIOs to news media

Let’s discuss this…because this news station/reporter could have made better decisions.

 

Soooooooo let’s use this as a good teaching moment. We Public Affairs pros are out there every day with the news media. Let’s revisit a few media relationships.

Perhaps in this situation, the news media was a askew on the important items and failed to think about the victim. I wish they would have considered the victim’s position. And if you heard the reporter say, “for the record” – the news story is NOT the record.

And yes, we as PIOs understand the mantra of following orders….TRUST ME we do. But taking the time to call, text, DM, etc….might be a good check between the PIO and media partners.

PIOs should reinforce to media that aside from going out to the scene, calling the PIO or the PAO might be a good option first. Most PIOs will tell you honestly if it’s a decent story or not. So establish trusted relationships before an emergency or disaster.

To my fellow PIOs – revisit your media relationships again. Wish them a happy summer and tell them to “be safe and do the right thing” – for realz.

Remember, the news media is our partner in proliferating information out during an emergency so as professionals, we should all work more closely together and use this as a PIO/media relations teaching moment.

Kudos to Newburgh Heights Police Department (located in NE Ohio).

IMHO: Yikes.

@rusnviek