Home > BLOG 3, Crisis Communication > Blog #3: Public Information System Training and Crisis Communication

Blog #3: Public Information System Training and Crisis Communication

After recently completing FEMA’s NIMS Public Information Systems training, I found it was very much in relation to how I have come to understand crisis and disaster communication through classroom learning.  FEMA describes the Public Information mission for a crisis as,

get[ting] accurate, understandable information to the public in a timely manner so people can take action to save lives and minimize damage to property.

And that is a lot of what we are learning as a class in Crisis Communication.  As a class, it is basically our mission to learn exactly how this mission is carried out, because one day it could be our job to do so.

I think the training was rather beneficial, because it covered more in-depth a few concepts we later went over during class:

  • The Joint Information System (JIS) which basically makes sure that information regarding the crisis is accurate, organized, and easily accessible.
  • The Joint Information Center (JIC) which is the main location of the JIS.
  • The Public Information Officer (PIO) which is like a public relations advisor of sorts to the Incident Commander during a crisis.

Good communication is key.

It is also important that all areas of the Public Informations System can communicate clearly with each other, or be permeable, a concept which we learned in class.

Some additional information I learned during the FEMA training was that there are certain public information skills that are beneficial to have during the pre-crisis phase:

  • Photography
  • Language translation
  • Internet/web design

I never would have really though of these being beneficial to crisis communication until the Public Information Systems training.

I think it is rather safe to say that Public Information Systems training fits right in with what we are learning in Crisis Communication.  The information compliments each other in ways that are beneficial to student learning, and the training reinforced many ideas we had already covered in class.

Classy stock photo of college students having fun learning. Probably about crisis communication.

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  1. October 26, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    That last photo is exactly how all of you look every day in class. Amazing.

    Your point about needed public information skills (web development, photography, translation) is interesting. Do you think you are getting these skills in your communication degree (if you are a communication major)? Do you think someone could be a good PIO without have some proficiency in these type of applied skills?

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