If you build it, they will come…

Eric Singer

… Or so believes Joe Dougherty with the Utah Division of Emergency Management. Joe’s talking about a network of Public Information Officers, locally, regionally and statewide who can help you in a moment’s notice during a major crisis event in your community. Dougherty was talking with me as we were both teaching crisis management and communication courses at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab in Oakland, California. The biggest obstacle for some Public Information Officers is that “life” happens as you are trying to build this kind of extensive network, “Everyone needs to find a champion or be that champion and realize we are stronger when we are a network. When you go back and read “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” you’ll learn that we are not just independent beings but need to be interdependent. That’s what we tell Public Information Officers all over Utah. Work on building your network. Put your arm around those PIOs with the fire department, police, sheriff’s office, hospital and other organizations. Get to meet those people because it’s better to meet them now, before the crisis happens.”Dougherty told me that Utah has made a cognizant effort to put together this type of helping hand for Public Information Officers who are dealing with a massive event and need other Information Officers to step in and pick up the slack, “In Utah, we call ours the Utah PIO Association. It’s been born out of years of inviting people to become part of this organization. We have an annual conference and training luncheons. It’s just a chance for all of us to be together and realize we are on the same team.”As Joe reinforced to me, it’s about asking for help before an event happens, “Go be that champion in your community. Who is that person you need to know? Who is that person who needs to be part of your network? Who might you have to respond with in a critical incident? Go meet with those people now and start building your own network.”Join in on the conversation. “Like” us on Facebook at Past Fusion Cell. You can also watch for updates on Twitter and Instagram @pastfusioncell.  If you are active on the Amazon Alexa app, go to news skills and enable Past Fusion Cell and National Public Affairs Academy to get your weekly Flash Briefings with Subject Matter Experts that I interview who can give you the newest best practices for risk and crisis communications.  To listen to the Flash Briefing, please click on the link below.

Flash Briefing – Week of February 24th, 2020