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What is your departments policy for talking to the media?



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In most case's I as Chief handle the Press , When I am able to depending on the sitution at a Fire or I work a press release and have our County Fire Coordinator  talk to the Press . When it comes to Matters of the Fire District the Board of Fire Commissioners refer any and all comments to thier Attorney to discuss with the press.

We do have a written policy on Press Releases.

Most media contact is either by me as chief or by the deputy chief.  The captains (shift supervisors) are authorized to give basic incident details (address, situation, dispatch and arrival times, and number of injuries), typically this is by telephone after the incident is over.  We never release names of occupants or victims until the initial fire report is complete.  

We have also had success using the local police department PIO at larger events.

-We have a cadre of support staff members (Inspectors, Admin personnel, etc) trained as Public Information Officers who are on a rotating call out schedule. These members respond to a fire scene, or any high profile call in which the media is expected, as directed by the on scene IC.

-As a general practice, members actively involved in mitigation will not have contact with the media on scene. Neither will the on scene chief officer.  The Fire Chief will only come to the scene of very large or very high profile events and even then usually leaves the press to the dept. PIO.

-Consequently, the IC, whomever that may be, does not do a press release. The PIO will gather as much information from the dispatch center, augment/update it on scene from the IC and then perform a press release apart from the IC.

We generally refer media to our PIO when media is involved.

Michael Bricault said:

-We have a cadre of support staff members (Inspectors, Admin personnel, etc) trained as Public Information Officers who are on a rotating call out schedule. These members respond to a fire scene, or any high profile call in which the media is expected, as directed by the on scene IC.

-As a general practice, members actively involved in mitigation will not have contact with the media on scene. Neither will the on scene chief officer.  The Fire Chief will only come to the scene of very large or very high profile events and even then usually leaves the press to the dept. PIO.

-Consequently, the IC, whomever that may be, does not do a press release. The PIO will gather as much information from the dispatch center, augment/update it on scene from the IC and then perform a press release apart from the IC.

At both of my departments, the policy is to not speak with the media. We refer all media to the Chief of the Department.  

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