The mission of the Public Information Office is to provide information, resources and services with a goal of ensuring that the fire department is viewed in a positive perspective.
The Public Information Officer is responsible for coordinating the department’s public, media, marketing and intergovernmental relations. This office is further tasked with the organization of seasonal activities, publicity/marketing campaigns, managing crisis and counteracting negative publicity. Other duties involve developing the day to day management of all internal and external communication strategies as well as long term strategies for both.
The purpose of this office is to dispense information of public interest regarding the operations of the fire department and promote participation in community and civic activities.
The Public Information Office is also responsible for producing professionally written documents, brochures, summaries, books and manuals, reports of all pertinent fire department activities as directed by the Chief of Fire Department.
The Public Information Officer supports all internal and external communication strategies and works with essential personnel across the department to identify, analyze, and put into writing information, programs, initiatives, ideas, and management practices related to the promotion, education and communication of Fire Department activities. This office also coordinates the research, development and preparation of written speeches for the Chief of Fire Department, Assistant Chief of Operations and Deputy Chief of Administration.
Design and implement communications in the form of internal newsletters and emails to fire department personnel and be responsible for the management and content of all fire department websites.
The role of the Public Information Officer is quite diverse in the sense that he/she must function in dual or multiple roles to meet the demands for public information in this present era. The demands for information and resources have set the stage for high energy and fast paced environment and the public information officer must be prepared to switch gears in a moments notice.
Operating in this diverse role warrants the public information officer to maintain communications as the liaison with City, County, State and Federal Government Offices for an exchange of information. Additionally, he/she possess very strong literary skills to direct the writing and distribution of press, radio and television news releases to gain high and positive visibility for the department and counteract unfavorable publicity.
The public information officer who functions as the face of the department has fulfilled the role of emcee, moderator and commentator during most of the department’s graduations, fire station dedications, press conferences, and official city wide ceremonies where local, state and federal elected officials have participated.
During many of the city’s emergencies that cross agency borders, the fire department public information officer often fulfills the role of Lead Public Information Officer for the incident. In this capacity the public information officer is responsible for coordinating the city’s response to the emergency, and addressing public and media
concerns. A major component of this role involves establishing a clearinghouse for information in conjunction with other agency public information officers in the Joint Information Center also referred to as the “JIC”.
To stay on the cutting edge of information, Kevin Cartwright as the current Public Information Officer has aligned himself with the following training;
- Baltimore City Emergency Operations Plan
- Emergency Operations Center - Bunker Engine Company #4
- Purpose, Functions, Locations, Operating Procedures, Direction and Control
- Centralized, On Scene Control, Communications, Personnel Requirements, Briefings, Minimum
- Staffing during Emergency of Major Disasters, Incident Command Training (Senior Staff)
- Baltimore City Fire Department
- Advanced Public Information Officer Course/National Fire Academy
- Emergency Management Institute
- National Emergency Training Center (NETC), Emmitsberg, MD
- Legal Issues, Risk Communications, Interpersonal Skills
- Emergency Information Systems
- Conflict Resolution, Communicating Effectively, Media Relations
- Joint Information Center Training and Exercise
- Consortium for Risk and Crisis Communications
- Effective Media Relations
- Working with the Media in High Stress Situations
- A Journalist and Risk Communicators Perspective
- Message Mapping