|Why does it feel so bad if it's supposed to be good for you?|
Think about it for a minute. Talk to a firefighter. They go through the fire academy, get classroom instruction, do simulated drills and exercises and get plenty of feedback on how they perform.
Talk to a law enforcement officer. They go through the police academy, get classroom instruction, do simulated drills and exercises and get plenty of feedback on how they perform.
Talk to an emergency medical technician... well, you are starting to get the idea.
|Firefighters getting training|
That's why there are some important things a PIO - or the supervisor of a PIO - should consider doing to improve his or her skills.
First, a great place to start is by taking FEMA's G290: Basic Public Information Officer training class. This is a two-day classroom-based training that is administered at the local level by real-world PIOs. Each state has their own requirements for instructors, but I believe that you will discover that the people who choose to instruct are well spoken and care tremendously about spreading the knowledge. Check with your local emergency management department or other state training agency to find out where the training is being offered.
|Tabletop exercises allow participants to simulate real-world events|
|A law enforcement PIO conducting a media update|
There are also many other training programs out there, and more advanced PIO training classes offered at places such as the Emergency Management Institute in Emmitsburg, Maryland. By simply taking the time to run a few dedicated exercises for your PIO's, they will soon be flexing their media and public relations muscles.
Tom Iovino, Public Information Specialist
Pinellas County, Florida