The second day of the annual FirePRO event saw some great case studies and examples. The event saw fire and rescue comms professionals compare notes.
By Dan Slee
As an example of how the landscape has changed the second day of the FirePRO event was a good example.
Useful practical examples, good insight and situations. There is always something really impressive about people sharing experience.
For me, when the balloon goes up, fire and rescue comms is as close to the pressures of journalism as it is possible to get. There can be death and injury. Deadlines and doorstepping hacks. But thankfully this is the exception.
Here are 10 things I learned from the second day at FirePRO.
1. Fire and rescue comms people are really good at rolling their sleeves up and just doing it. Every major incident can be different. There are some rules to follow but being adaptable is hugely important.
2. Don’t TELL people to share sensitive and harrowing images of death and destruction. It won’t work. ASK people to consider the feelings of the family and loved ones.
3. When you get a major incident with 100 phone calls from the Press it is impossible to service them all individually.
4. Make sure people in your comms team have a basic knowledge of key skills. So, when the chips are down they can turn their hand at things.
5. In an incident where there is death your priority as a comms and PR person is the friends and family of the deceased.
6. Do the right thing. This is a good mantra.
7. Local government people have 1,200 services they need to communicate. They are not always good at emergencies.
8. Chashire Fire used a 64-bit-style computer game to communicate with young people the dangers of fire. You can see it here.
9. Operation Unified Response was a four-day operation which tested how the emergency services and partners in London would respond to a disaster. By allowing media access they could provide good footage and images and reassure people they would be ready in an emergency.
10. Virtual reality could be a thing to help teach important fire lessons. Content can be created in a training facility. People of all ages can view it by a Google cardboard headset which costs a few pounds.
11. Staff love to hear stories about staff.
12. In any workforce there are the alive (the engaged), the barely alive (the can be engaged) and zombies (don’t want to be engaged). Sometimes, it’s actually quite useful to have some input from zombies as they can challenge and ask questions.
13. This TED talk on the Super Chicken model is useful for staff engagement.
14. Less important staff news like people’s parties can be diverted to Yammer.
15. Alan from Alive With Ideas is a really good egg.
Dan Slee is co-founder of comms2point0.