The Fire PIO: Why Every Department Needs A Public Information Policy

Things happen every day. They can happen almost anywhere on the planet – a major air disaster, train derailment, hazardous materials incident, natural or man-made disaster, terrorism attack or conflagration. Within an instant, your small town in the...


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Once the plan is developed, it should be reviewed regularly and changes made as needed. You should have your department’s legal representative review it to see that it remains in compliance with the law. Lastly, it should be made available and reviewed by all the members of the department – especially the PIO – so everyone knows what the plan entails.

TIMOTHY R. SZYMANSKI has been in the fire service for 41 years and is the Public Education & Information Officer (PEIO) for Las Vegas, NV, Fire & Rescue. He has worked in every position from firefighter/paramedic to fire chief. Szymanski is a Nevada-certified Fire Service Master Instructor and holds national and state certifications in many areas of the fire service. He has received numerous awards, including the 2008 Liberty Mutual National Firemark Award for Community Education and the Community Service Award from the Nevada Broadcasters Association. He was the Fire & Emergency PIO during the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. His website is www.firepeio.com and Twitter at firepeio.