A new tool available for use by public information officers (PIOs) is social media. Used mostly by younger people, it is becoming more widely used by all age groups as people become more acquainted with it and understand it. I must admit I was intimidated with it at first, but have come to use it...
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Disseminate only material that is “official” and you are absolutely positive is correct. Never speculate or give opinions. A PIO’s function is to release official and factual information. You are providing the information through social media. If it is incorrect, you cannot blame the media, you are the outlet.
Social media is becoming widely accepted and used more and more each day. It is an exciting new tool for PIOs to use. What I have learned is you only get good at it if you use it daily so you get the practice. Put out safety messages, if nothing else. That way, when you are at an incident and want to get information out fast (especially life-saving information), you will be able to with ease.
You can visit my Twitter at LasVegasFD or FirePEIO or my YouTube at pio1lv. n