Public Information / Affairs Officer

“Our house is on fire. These have been a bad few months for journalism. We are getting the big stories wrong over and over again…Never before in human history has more information been available to more people. But at the same time, never before in human history has more bad information been available to more people. In a world where everyone is a publisher no one is an editor and that is the danger we face today…Twitter, Facebook and Reedit is not journalism, that’s gossip…If you are first no one will ever remember, but if you are wrong, no one will ever forget.”

-Scott Pelley
CBS Evening News Anchor

“Most of the stuff on the information highway is road kill.”

– John Updike
Kansas City Star

“You cannot talk your way out of a crisis”

– Tom Olshanski

Advanced Public Information Officer, Student Manual E388, (January 2013)

Appendix D-4: Recommended JIC Positions with Descriptions and Volunteer PIO Positions, (nd), Tampa Bay Catastrophic Plan

Williams, “Can You Hear Me Now? ,” (2013), Santa Barbara News-Press

City and County of San Francisco Emergency Response Plan, ESF #15: Joint Information System Annex, (nd)

Crisis Communications, (nd), Argonne National Laboratory Risk Management Program,

Crisis Communications Planning: Establishing Joint Information Centers, (nd), Lessons Learned Information Sharing, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Wade, Dealing Effectively with the Media, What You Need to Know About Print,Radio and Television Interviews, (1992), National Book Network, Inc., ISBN: 1-56052-116-3

Dealing with the Media, (2013), Risk Control Services Department of the Glatfelter Insurance Group

Brinkerhoff, et al., Developing and Implementing a Public Information Officer Policy and Procedure for the Las Cruces Fire Department, Executive Analysis of Fire Service Operations in Emergency Management, (November 2003), An applied research project submitted on the National Fire Academy as part of the Executive Fire Officer Program.

Does One Size Fit All? Module VII C – Public Relations & Reputation Management, (2013), Fire Services Training Institute

Emergency Information Procedures Workbook, (June 2001), Emergency Management Division, Michigan Department of State Police, EMD PUB-401

Williams, EPIC – A Community Effort, (2013), Santa Barbara News Press

EPIC Social Media Table Top Exercise, Social Media, (April 25, 2013), Emergency Public Information Communicators, Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Services

Fort Bend County Joint Information Center Plan, A Guide to Collaborative Communications for the Fort Bend County PIO Network, (September 21, 2009), Media Consultants

Improving Our Emergency Alert System in the 21st Century, Paul Revere – Where Are You?, 2010 – 2011 Santa Barbara County Civil Grand Jury

Information Officer S-403, Instructor Guide, (September 2001), NFES 1944, National Wildfire Coordinating Group

Introduction to Incident Information S-203, Instructor Guide, (January 2008), National Wildfire Coordination Group

Fernandez and Merzer,Jane’s Crisis Communications Handbook, 1st Edition, Texas Department of Public Safety, (2003), Jane’s Information Group, Division of Emergency Management, Texas Department of Public Safety, ISBN: 0-7106-2596-0

Joint Information Centers, Communications During Emergency Response, (February 2005), (Publisher not indicated)

Joint Information Center Model, Collaborative Communications During Emergency Response, (January 21, 2000), The National Response Team

Mariposa County Joint Information System/Center Plan, (September 30, 2011)

Media Guide, (nd), Santa Barbara County Fire Department

Burkholder-Allen, Media Relations and the Role of the Public Information Officer: What Every DMAT Member Should Know, (nd)

Media Relations Policy, (October 2011), City of Del Rio,Texas

Williams, Media – Who Do You Trust?, (2013), Santa Barbara News Press

Mesa County Joint Information Center/System Plan, (September 2007)

Mesa County Joint Information System Plan, (March 2011)

Monongalia County Office of Emergency Management, Joint Information Center (JIC) Operating Plan, (2005), Monongalia County Joint Information Center Operating Plan

Turner, My Beef With Big Media, How government protects big media-and shuts out upstarts like me, (July/August 2004), Washington Monthly,

NFPA 1035 Standard for Professional Qualifications for Public Fire and Life Safety Educator, 2000 Edition, National Fire Protection Association

NRT Joint Information Center Model, Collaborative Communications During Emergency Response, (February 29, 2008), National Response Team

NRT Joint Information Center Model, Collaborative Communications During Emergency Response, (October 2009), National Response Team

PIO Guidelines For Emergency Situation, Advanced PIO Course, E388, (August 1993), United States Fire Administration, Emergency Management Institute

PIO Response Plan, (January 2011), Crisis Communications Policy, Homeland Security Region 10, HSR10 – PIO Subcommittee

Holt, PIO Toolbox, For Team Managed Incidents, (2007), Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center

Managing Mass Fatalities: Public Communications Tools, (nd), Advanced Practice Centers

Media Guide, Information for Officers and the Media, (nd), California Highway Patrol

Participant Guide, Weapons of Mass Destruction: Public Information in a WMD/Terrorism Incident, Training Support Package, (February 2008), Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency

Public Communications Tools, (nd), Managing Mass Fatalities: A Toolkit for Planning, Advanced Practice Centers

U.S. Fire Administration, Public Fire Education Planning, A Five Step Process, FA-219, (June 2008), Federal Emergency Management Agency

U.S. Fire Administration, Public Fire Education Planning for Rural Communities, A Five Step Process, (October 2007), Federal Emergency Management Agency

Public Information Annex to the Santa Barbara County Emergency Operations Plan, (2010), Santa Barbara County Operational Area, County of Santa Barbara, California

Public Information, Joint Information (JIC) and Joint Information System (JIS) Guidelines,(March 2, 2010, Domestic Secrutiy Oversight, RDSTF

Public Information Officer Procedures Guide, (June 2011), Fictitious County Emergency Operations Center

Klein-Rothschild and Williams,Risk & Crisis Communications, (July 2013), Emergency Public Information Communicators

Salt River Fire Department Operating Guidelines, Public Information Officer, (April 2000)

Santa Barbara County Emergency Alert System Plan, (February 2006), Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management

Santa Barbara Operational Area Joint Information System Plan, (May 2013)

Santa Barbara County Operational Area Public Information Annex: Joint Information System Plan, (2014)

San Diego County Sheriff’s Department Media Guide, (nd)

Should I respond Online to Comments Posted on a Social Media Site?, (nd), County of Marin (Originally a Department of the Army document)

Social Media Playbook, Everything you & Your Department Need to Know to Go Social, Version 2.0, (May 2013), Supplemental guide to the County of Marin’s Social Media Policy

Guthey, Ted Turner’s Media Legend and the Transformation of Corporate Liberalism, (1997), Business and Economic History, Volume twenty-six, no. 1, Fall 1997, Business History Conference, ISSN: 0894-6825

Williams, Turn Off the Television, (2012), Santa Barbara News Press

Urbandale Fire Department, Public Information Release/PIO, (April 2002)

Utah Fire Service Certification System, Public Information Officer, Certification Standard, (May 2007)

“Our house is on fire. These have been a bad few months for journalism. We are getting the big stories wrong over and over again…Never before in human history has more information been available to more people. But at the same time, never before in human history has more bad information been available to more […]

About the Author

Michael S. Williams

Michael S. Williams

Founder the Fire Services Training Institute

Williams founded the Fire Services Training Institute in 1995 to find solutions to the challenges confronting the volunteer fire service. He has been an active member of California State Firefighters Association (CSFA) since 1994, having served on the volunteer and public relations committees, and as a southern division deputy director. He sits on several local organizations including the Santa Barbara County Fire Safe Council, the Tri-Counties Training Officers Association, Santa Barbara Chapter of CAER and is a founding member of the Santa Barbara PIO group Emergency Public Information Communicators (EPIC). He has been the author of many articles and a columnist for a local newspaper on public safety matters. He is also the co-host of Community Alert on KZSB AM-1290 in Santa Barbara. Williams has been a member of the California State Board of Fire Services since 2008. Prior to becoming involved in the volunteer fire service, Williams was a California police officer for 12 ½ years and a POST certified Field Training Officer. He is a licensed private investigator and security consultant specializing in self-insured, government and insurance defense assignments.

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FSTI has provided training to the volunteer public safety community since 2006. It has been our mission to provide high quality training to firefighters while at the same time promoting community safety.

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