SMEM vs. Cabin Fever

Millions of people have been affected by the blizzard that hit the U.S. Mid-Atlantic region during the weekend, with the storm’s after-effects still being felt days after the last snowflake fell. Here, in Virginia’s Hampton Roads region, schools and local government offices are closed, hazardous driving conditions persist on secondary roads and emergency managers are busy […]

JIC Status Board Specialists: Librarians of Organized Chaos

A Joint Information Center operating at full tilt is a precise and frantic thing: Information flows up through the phone lines in the form of complex questions, community queries and downright pointed accusations. Reports and notifications from the different cells of the Incident Command Post are routed through the Public Information Officer to the JIC […]

Steer Toward Right: After Action Reports and Lessons from the Field

Note: A brief introduction, since this is the first  guest post (of many, we hope) from our friend and colleague Thomas McKenzie. Mac isn’t just a PIO, who spends a LOT of time in the field, but is a member of the U.S. Coast Guard’s elite Public Information Assist Team, which is a component of […]

“Run Hide Fight”: #SMEM During the Ohio State University Attack

When a then-unidentified man used his vehicle as a weapon on the campus of the Ohio State University Monday, then got out of it and attacked people with a knife, authorities acted quickly: both the first responders who stopped the violence within minutes and school officials responsible for ensuring the safety of students, faculty, staff […]

PIO Tips for “Staying Frosty” During Disaster Response

I’ve written on this subject in the past but with Hurricane Matthew being nigh and many of my former public information officer colleagues setting up in its path (or waiting for the call to do so,) I thought I’d re-rack a version of a post I wrote two years ago about some of the intangible lessons I […]

Recovering from Disaster: 5 Communication Strategies

Brandon and I spent decades preparing for and responding to all manner of critical incidents and disasters as federal public information officers. When we weren’t preparing or responding, we were teaching others to prepare and respond. When we weren’t preparing or responding or teaching others to prepare and respond, we were getting phone calls, emails […]