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 External Affairs 

 

SPOTLIGHT


NIMS Category:
       OPERATIONS
Primary Agency:     SRU Public Relations
Support Agencies:  Butler County Emergency Management Agency
                                Regional News and Media Outlets

Introduction
A. Purpose
Emergency Support Function (ESF) # 13 – ensures the coordination and dissemination of official SRU information. It is to support emergency response or recovery operations, and to assure appropriate information and instructions are released to the public.
B. Scope
1.     External Affairs includes providing accurate information to the media sources regarding the location, severity and magnitude of the emergency or disaster.
2.     Potential operations include:
   • Formulation of media statements.
   • Scheduling and conduct of press briefings.
   • Development of pre-scripted media statements.
   • Preparation of press/media packages or the development of emergency 
      public announcements.
   • Coordination and release of information with other involved agencies.
   • Transmission of timely messages to the various media outlets.

Situations & Assumptions
A.     The Public Information Officer will coordinate information releases and provide accurate information to the public during emergencies so that the public can take appropriate precautionary or protective action. The Public Information Officer and team associates review and participate in exercises of the plan.
B.     SRU emergency management personnel and Public Information Officer monitor local and national media to be aware of current information and to monitor the accuracy of statements related to the emergency or disaster.
C.     The extent of damage to the communications infrastructure of the affected area, in addition to the requirements of the local and national media, will influence the strategy for information dissemination.

Concept of Operations
A. General
1.     All information released to the media will be through the Public Information Officer after clearance with the EAD.
2.     Emergency information will be released from a secure site designated (usually at the Joint Information Center [JIC] when it is activated). A center for media representatives shall be established where there are phone lines, a desk, reception area, and easy access to the media. The PIO will periodically provide briefings to the media at this location.
3.     Whenever possible and time permitting, information will be coordinated with Public Information Officers of SRU and potentially other involved municipalities/agencies through the JIC.
4.     Timely briefings will be held to report information concerning emergency response efforts to reassure citizens that the situation is under control.
5.     Rumor control is a part of the External Affairs function.
6.     SRU will seek the cooperation of all local media prior to and during emergencies.
7.     Public Service announcements, as well as warnings for the hearing impaired or other special needs populations, will be disseminated in the most appropriate and effective manner to reach the largest audience, consistent with the technology or resources available for use.
8.     A key aspect of a JIC is the ability to scale it to meet the specific needs of the incident. While a large-scale emergency may utilize all of the functional units shown in Figure 2-2, a smaller emergency may only need to activate a few functions or units.
9.     When planning a JIC:
   • Consider the nature and size of the incident.
   • Identify the key audiences who need information (e.g., victim families,
      media, general public, key partners [responding agencies], employees),
   • Determine which JIC functions should be activated and how the JIC will be
      organized.
   • For smaller-scale emergencies, consider if the various JIC functions or units
      necessarily need to be physically co-located, or if they can function virtually
      from existing offices or different locations via phone, email, or other means
      of coordination.
10.     The PIO will have the overall responsibility for the JIC and report directly to the Incident Commander. If needed, the PIO should:
   • Appoint a JIC Manager to provide direct operational management and 
      oversight of the JIC, assure that information is shared between the JIC 
      functional units, and provide resources to operate the JIC effectively.
   • Designate lead staff for the three main functional units of the JIC – Media
      Relations, Research & Writing, and Special Projects units.