Key Personnel/Identification of Roles and Responsibilities
The Information Officer is responsible for interface with the local
Public Information Officer, the media, and other appropriate agencies.
This function is implemented to relieve the IC of working with the media,
which would take him or her away from command responsibilities.
The needs of the media are real and must be met. The media needs accurate
and consistent information. When the IC is not able to handle both managing
the incident and informing the media, the Information Officer’s
position should be implemented.
The Information Officer should:
Upon notification of the Information Officer
assignment, report to the Command Post and obtain a briefing on the
situation from the IC.
Determine what is expected of him or her; what the
Information Officer’s media release authority is; and what types of releases,
if any, can be made without the IC’s approval.
Establish a single incident information center or
press area whenever possible. Media representatives need to be made
aware of its location and the importance of their reporting there.
Unless the EOC is activated, or until
deemed necessary by the IC, the information center will be at or near
the scene of the emergency, away from the Command Post. The Information
Officer needs to arrange for necessary workspace, materials, telephones,
radios, and additional staffing.
Coordinate with the EOC’s Public Information
Officer to prevent conflicting information.
Obtain whatever personnel are needed, as the incident
unfolds, to assist in the duties of the assignment. At least one assistant
will be needed from the start.
Coordinate all releases of significant information
with the IC.
Prepare an initial information summary as soon as possible.
The Information Officer is responsible for releasing information to
the news media and is responsible for posting information in the Command
Post and in other appropriate locations.
Establish specific times for news releases, fact sheets,
Conduct tours of the emergency scene as directed by the
IC. These tours should be made based on any safety guidelines established
by the Safety Officer. Media representatives should have the proper
protective clothing for the situation and be warned about specific
dangers or potential problems.