Will County Hosts Workshop on Keeping the Public Informed During Emergencies
The Office of Will County Executive Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant and the Will County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) hosted a county-wide workshop for local agencies on how to keep the public well-informed during emergencies.
“This is the first time in several years that the county has been able to host an event focused on providing best practices for communicating public information during an emergency or disaster,” said County Executive Bertino-Tarrant. “By increasing collaboration between local governments and agencies, we’re helping each other plan ahead for any scenario.”
The workshop welcomed over 60 full-time and part-time Public Information Officers (PIO’s) from municipalities, fire and police departments, county agencies, educational institutions, and other local agencies. It served as a first step in forming an official “Will County PIO Network” to increase collaboration and host regular trainings on best practices from experienced emergency management professionals, tips on media coordination, and the latest information on public information tools.
Attendees received a crash course in emergency management public communications from the State of Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and Office of Homeland Security Director of Communications Kevin Sur. They also heard case studies in responding to unique weather emergencies from IEMA Region 8 Coordinator Doug Downey, National Weather Service Senior Service Hydrologist W. Scott Lincoln, and National Weather Service Warning Coordination Meteorologist Mike Bardou.
“Collaboration is critical during any emergency and these workshops are an opportunity to strengthen local connections,” said Will County Emergency Management Agency Director Allison Anderson. “I look forward to continuing to work with local governments, organizations, and non-profits on future presentations and workshops. Thank you to all the attendees and to the Plainfield Fire Protection District for hosting the event.”
The PIO workshop coincides with several efforts by the Will County EMA to increase public outreach and awareness of preparedness resources. Earlier this year, they launched a new-and-improved “Ready Will County” smartphone application for residents to receive timely alerts about local emergency scenarios.
For more information on “Ready Will County” or other preparedness information, residents can visit www.willcountyema.org.