Public Information ANNEX E

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1 Public Information ANNEX E

2 2 Public Information ANNEX E Primary Agency: Communications Office Secondary Agencies: Emergency Management Agency First Response Agencies/Departments Support Agencies/Departments I. Purpose The purpose of this annex is to provide for the effective collection, control, and dissemination of emergency public information and for the minimization of confusion, misinformation, and rumors during times of emergency. This annex also provides for public education to be conducted in advance of emergency situations to reduce the likelihood that citizens will place them in hazardous situations that may require an emergency response. II. Situations and Assumptions A. Situation During periods of emergency, the public needs, and generally desires, detailed information regarding protective action to be taken for minimizing loss of life and property. There are times, however, when disaster strikes without warning and the public information system cannot react rapidly enough to properly inform the public about the hazard. For this reason, it is important that prior to the occurrence of an emergency the public be made aware of potential hazards and the protective measures that can be employed. Media sources would include television, radio stations, cable service, and newspapers. B. Assumptions An effective program combining both education and emergency information will significantly reduce disaster-related casualties and property damage. It is recognized, however, that people are generally unconcerned about hazards until affected despite educational programs. Thus, special emphasis must be placed on the effectiveness of the emergency information program and the Family Disaster Preparedness Program. III. Concept of Operations A. General Emergency Public Information efforts will be coordinated through the Public Information Officer (PIO). Pursuant to the National Incident Management System (NIMS) operating principles and protocols, published information efforts will focus on specific event-related information.

3 3 Over 100 agencies/organizations have agreed to serve as Joint Public Information Centers. The Joint Information Centers will allow the Public Information Officer (PIO) to coordinate media relations closer to an incident. A list of the locations can be found at the Public Information Officer (PIO) office, located at the Courthouse. It is important to keep the public informed of the general progress of events. A special effort shall be made to report accurate information regarding emergency response in order to reassure the community that the situation is under control. Rumor control shall be a major aspect of the emergency information program. After a disaster, media interest and demands for information will be intense. A critical element to providing clear, non-conflicting, accurate information will be the coordination between the Public Information Officer (PIO) and responding agencies (Peoria City/County Health Department, American Red Cross, area Medical Facilities, etc.). B. Information Dissemination A primary Joint Information Center will be designated by the Public Information Officer (PIO). The Joint Public Information Center shall make the public aware of the notification process and how to find out about loved ones. As Emergency Alert Systems (EAS) messages are limited to two minutes. Emergency Alert Systems (EAS) warning messages may have to be supplemented with Special News Advisories that contain amplifying emergency information prepared by the Public Information Officer (PIO) staff that contains amplifying emergency information. Special News Advisories are generally disseminated to media outlets by or fax. When the Incident Command System is activated for an emergency situation, the Incident Commander will normally warn the public in and around the incident site. A designated Public Information Officer (PIO) at the Incident Command Post (ICP), assisted by the County of Peoria Public Information Officer (PIO) staff, will provide information on the emergency situation to the media if the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) has not been activated. All information relayed to the media by the Public Information Officer (PIO) will be approved by the Incident Command (IC) or Emergency Operations Center (EOC), regardless of the command structure single or unified. When substantial external responders are working on response and recovery efforts at a large-scale emergency or disaster, a Joint Information Center (JIC) may be established. The Joint Information Center (JIC) provides information via media outlets to the public during an emergency. The Joint Information Center (JIC) is a working facility where emergency public information representatives of all participating jurisdictions, agencies, volunteer organizations, and other response agencies can coordinate information to ensure consist and accurate messaging. In federally declared incidents, a Joint Information Center (JIC) will be set up as part of the Joint Field Office (JFO). The Public Information Officer (PIO) is responsible for collection of information from the Incident Command Post, hospitals, and other sources and agencies. He/she will disseminate the information directly to the news media, and where appropriate, make announcements directly to the public via radio and/or television hookups. Under no circumstances should the names of casualties be released before notification of next of kin by appropriate officials.

4 4 The following means may be used to provide emergency information and instructions to the public: 1. Emergency Alert Systems (EAS) broadcasts by radio, televisions, and cable companies 2. Special news broadcasts by radio, television, and cable companies 3. Local newspapers 4. Community Messaging System 5. Outdoor Warning System 6. Websites 7. Social Media Sites Special populations will be provided information on emergency situations and appropriate instructions by the following methods: Visually-impaired: Emergency Alert Systems (EAS) messages and news advisories on radio, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio, or by door-to-door notification. Hearing-impaired: Captioned Emergency Alert Systems (EAS) messages and news advisories on television, and print media. Non-English Speaking: Interpreters/radio, TV or cable language newscasts or door-to-door. C. Access for News Media Representatives In recognition of the public's right to know as much information as possible about a disaster, the various agencies involved in response must make every effort to cooperate with the Incident Commander and POI. Representatives of legitimate news media will have equal access of information and scenes of response activities as appropriate. News media representatives are likewise required to cooperate with agency personnel as directed for safety and efficient operation. The Incident Commander, or his/her designated representative, will determine WHEN and WHERE access is consistent with safety and efficient operation. The Public Information Officer (PIO) will establish rules for media access to the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) as appropriate to conditions. IV. Organization and Responsibilities A. Organization The overall responsibility of providing emergency information and instructions to the public will be coordinated by the Board Chair and Public Information Officer (PIO).

5 5 B. Responsibilities 1. The Public Information Officer (PIO) will be responsible for the following: V. Direction and Control Report to Emergency Operations Center (EOC) when activated. Represent and advise the Incident Command (IC) on all public information matters relating to the management of the incident. Ensure the Incident Command (IC) or Emergency Operations Center (EOC) approves the release of all incident-related information. Coordinate and integrate public information functions across jurisdictions and functional agencies as required. Provide news releases, which have been cleared for release by the proper authorities, for the media. Establish media access procedures. Check all print media for accuracy of reports. Investigate rumors. Check TV, print and radio broadcast for accuracy of reports. Develop accurate and complete information on the incident for both internal and external consumption. Coordinate the overall emergency public information efforts of involved agencies. Maintain a recent record of events. A. The Public Information Officer will direct all emergency public information activities, coordinate as necessary with other individuals / departments / agencies and performing other emergency functions. B. To the extent possible, the Public Information Officer (PIO) will release, upon approval, all appropriate information to the public and the media during emergency operations. C. During emergency operations, departments and agencies are directed to refer all media inquiries to the Public Information Officer (PIO). VI. Plan Development and Maintenance The Public Information Officer is responsible for developing and maintaining this annex as outlined in Section VII of the Basic Plan.

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