L-105 Class Participants in group photo standing on stairs in SEOC

Public Information Basics (L0105) Training

April 23-25, 2024
KYEM Emergency Operations Center, Frankfort, KY

This three-day course introduces participants to the fundamentals of public information, understanding social media, effective oral and written communications, ways to prepare the community through outreach, and understanding and working with the media. The course was designed to equip participants with the skills, basic tools, and techniques to perform effectively as a PIO, both in the proactive/advocacy times and crisis/emergency response.

“Public Information Basics provides the instruction and techniques necessary to perform and hone your duties as a PIO whatever your background or experience, and your organizational position. The training is presented as hands-on and in in a manner that is easy to comprehend.” – Dennis Brown, Director, Lewis County EMA

Public Information Basics is intended for those who serve as Public Information Officers (PIOs) for their organization or those who may have to communicate on behalf of their agency such as Emergency Managers and Directors. The course was offered to federal, state, local level government employees, business and nongovernmental emergency management personnel who may be designated to fill the PIO position temporarily, or anyone seeking a better understanding of the PIO position.

“This course should be a requirement for anyone involved in emergency response. Not only for personnel on the ground and in the field, but for managers and administrators, to allow them to understand the importance of the public information process in emergency situations. The free flow of information is vital during times of crisis, and it’s important that the role of the public information officer and the information dissemination process is not overlooked. The PIO is a vital cog in the wheel of emergency response, and this course emphasizes the role and importance of the PIO and how they fit into the overall emergency response network. For a veteran PIO such as myself, this course is a great refresher on best practices and provides much additional insight, with activities based on real-life situations that could occur that would affect or involve the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.” – H.B. Elkins, Public Information Officer, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Department of Highways, District 10

The L0105 course allowed participants to engage in group activities and exercises to understand how to strategize to ensure a cohesive message is being relayed to the public during a disaster.

“I highly recommend that all PIOs take this class. It was amazing to see how the message could be different among agencies. This class stresses the importance of ‘one message.” – Christi Dukes, RN, PIO, Muhlenberg County Health Department

L-105 Class participants doing classwork at a table in the SEOC training room

The course also emphasized the need to foster relationships to ensure the whole community can be reached in times of an emergency or disaster.

“The L-105 class was a wonderful opportunity that gave me a better understanding of what a PIO does exactly. The class has shaped my interests in a career for the future.” – Nathan Starnes, Intern, Lexington Division of Emergency Management

Those who participated in the course were required to complete FEMA’s Public Information Officer Awareness (IS-29) course before enrollment.

All students had to participate in a simulated interview and a mock press conference exercise before the final exam. A score of 75% was required to receive a certificate of completion. Students participating in the course were from the following agencies:

• Boone County Emergency Management
• Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP)
• Cincinnati Department of Health
• Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources
• Kentucky Emergency Management (KYEM)
• Kentucky National Guard (KYNG)
• Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC)
• Lewis County Emergency Management
• Lexington Emergency Management
• Lexington-Fayette Animal Control and Care
• Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government Community Corrections
• Louisville Metro Sewer District
• Madison County Health Department
• Muhlenberg County Health Department