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Handling the media....

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  • #31
    A case in point... media relations

    Today, my Department held it's first open house ever.

    I sent out press releases 2 weeks ago announcing the open house, what was going on, etc.

    We got a call from one of the local newspapers, who asked us to send another copy of the press release because they lost the first one!

    They did a small "blurb" in their Friday edition under Police and Fire News.

    Not one reporter came out to our open house...

    And it was a damn shame, too... as we had a lot of the people running for elected office in our City there, a great turnout of families who enjoyed visits with Sparky, got to see pump and aerial operations, got to see a car cut up, a chance to tour the District's Fire Safety House, kids getting rides in our GEM Electric car, have some freee pizza courtesy of Papa Ginos as well as have a chance to cover a kitchen fire that occured in a single family dwelling during the open house!

    I am willing to bet that Monday, the phone in my office will ring off the hook with the same organizations I sent press releases to calling me to ask how it went, if I have photos, etc.

    Being the trooper that I am..I will comply with their requests... getting positive PR late is better than no PR at all!
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    • #32
      We have a local newspaper and recorded local news that runs 5 minutes every 30 minutes on the CNN channel. Both never gets the story right. For example, we responded to car accident were the driver lost control and slide around hitting the guide wire of a telephone pole. The rear of the car was up in the air about 6 feet. Several firefighters used fence post laying near by to stabilize the car to get the driver out. The reporter on scene was getting pictures, when an officer asked if he needed any info, he said that he had all he needed. The picture in the next days paper had a title "HOW DID THEY DO THAT" The picture showed the car sitting ontop of the fence post. No mention of the fire dept. working to get the driver out, only that this car lost control and landing on the fence post.
      Never has the paper of local tv got our fire dept. name right. The local tv crew stopped by during a training fire and filmed (the reason they stoped was that they thought it was an actual fire call). The next days news showed the firefighters pulling hose and putting the fire out. All our turnout gear has our name across the back and as the reporter was talking about the training we were doing, she called us by another fire dept.'s name. While clearly on the footage the dept. names was easily seen.
      As the others have said, get to know the fire dept.s, the firefighters. Go by during training with equipment. When a new fire truck is purchase, go and find out what type of calls it will respond to. Also, show the positive side of the fire dept. as much as possible. Firefighters may have to leave in the middle of the night to respond to calls or miss important family time to help someone in need. This is very rare to hear about. Most reporter don't understand the difference between paid and volunteer. Thanks for your interest and wiliness to learn about the fire dept.

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