EMS Media & PIO

This group is for PIO or for those who are into media with EMS such as creating videos or photography within emergency services. Anyone in interest feel free to join.

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Latest Activity: Nov 19, 2013

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Comment by Janet Smith on November 6, 2009 at 1:48pm
I just checked out John Dillon's video link. BRAVO! Really an excellent treatment using still photos and video made to look like still photos. The song writing was top shelf!
Comment by John Dillon on September 9, 2009 at 9:46am

Just wanted to share with my fellow video freinds, are latest video for Woodbury Public Safety. The video was done all in house, and something new this year, the Public Safety Director performed the music (instruments and all) and sang a duet with his 11 year old son. The video was shown September 9th, to over 500 people, and received a standing ovation. Firefighter-Paramedic Jason Arney O'Neil produced this years video. Pretty awesome for his first time out if I do say so myself.
Comment by John Dillon on May 30, 2009 at 10:13am
I think there is nothing better than a video to help promote your service/organization. The questions is how do you do it so it looks good and helps you get your message out. What I have found, when you first look at doing a video, decide what it is you want to do. I will admit when I first started making videos, (I am a total amateur I might add) I looked to the local news for ideas. I know, sounds odd, but what I found with them is the move things along, not hanging on one person image to long and the use of "B" role (video that is seen when someone is talking) and trying to minimize one persons on screen video to less than 10 seconds. This video, which was my second video, really played on this. Also lighting I found was crucial, in just about most of these videos, I used up to lights. The video quality could be better, but hey, I got to work. Check out this example Check out this example. Also I borrowed a concept from the old Police Story series where my videos started out with radio traffic and ended. Interested in learning how other use videos. I have now quite a few videos, getting better, what is tough is I do video like this maybe twice a years, I am a better at editing than at shooting high quality video. I do know this video has been used as a promotional tool for public safety all over the country, primarily because it speaks for the most part about Public Safety in general, but of course my department, Woodbury, if featured.
Comment by Rick Wold on March 15, 2009 at 12:36am
Community relations is an aspect often overlooked from management on down. It's benefits are found in heightened public awareness of health and safety issues, increased exposure of our agencies and positive attitudes generated on the part of the community and funding agencies. In this period of economic cutbacks we can not afford to ignore public perceptions as to the importance of what we do. Sadly, municipal budget sessions often come down to making cuts between EMS, Fire and Police. Public sentiment is a key factor on where these cuts are ultimately made. Likewise, funding requests for expanded services or capital requests based on per-capita assessments can be influenced by the attitudes of taxpayers as to the value of the EMS in their respective areas.

There have been some really good suggestions as to how to increase awareness in our service areas. I might suggest that you make a survey of resources within your agency to see what expertise may already be on board in this area. With the advent of desktop video editing, long format informational videos can be produced to air on local public access or commercial broadcast channels. Local broadcasters(TV/Radio) and cable companies routinely air public service messages at no charge. Newspapers are not typically as forethcoming with freebies but it never hurts to try.

See if there is someone in your department that would like to assume the role of Public Information Officer. This has value in that it focuses your efforts through a single source and also gives media a name, face and phone number to contact in situations that draw media attention. On that subject, one of the worst things that can happen in cases of media involvement is to have multiple members of your service giving conflicting reports. This can turn into a nightmare. Whether information is disseminated in face-to-face interviews or through printed releases it should follow a protocol that can be assessed and verfied.

The media can be a valuable asset both in terms of getting information out to the community and building your image. Once you have established a Community Relations/Public Information Officer, make contact with representatives of the various media in your city or town. Ask them if they have any questions or concerns regarding access to information or if there is anything that you can do to make their job easier (watch their jaws drop). Give them the appropriate contact information to direct questions in the future. At the same time go over your limitaitons based on HIPAA but assure them that you will try to work with them within the law and protocols of your service.

Include the media by making them aware of training exercises that may have a visual component (ie: mass casualty trainings, hazmat, prom crash, etc).

Look for a local angle on national breaking stories such as the winter flu season, high number of geriatric falls this winter and other items that would generate a feature TV, radio or print piece.

Other branches of public safety have set up ride-alongs for media. I realize that this is not entirely practical in terms of EMS but "A Day in the Life Of" could be done with a little planning and supervision.

Building a positive media image does not happend over night. The Fourth Estate is by its very nature, wary of anything that is handed to it as opposed to something that it has "dug up." In time though, you can become a valuable resource and a symbiotic relationship evolves. If they can count on you to help them with background information, fill in some blanks or just direct them to the right source you are well on your way. You will find that the connections that you make will return the favor when it comes to getting information out on your end. Remember, though, a relationship that took years to build can be dashed by one incident of either EMS or the media taking advantage of the other or violating a trust.

Sounds like a lot of work? Not really. The media, like public safety, inherently have the best interest of the community as their priority. Working together we can get information out in a clear, concise and positive way that benefit our patients and raises public awareness as to the importance of EMS today and in the future.
Comment by Janet Smith on February 2, 2009 at 7:18pm
On Assignment/On Assignment Studios has been producing recruitment/retention videos for EMS in Montana, Ohio, California, Texas Mass. and New York.
Comment by Janet Smith on February 2, 2009 at 7:17pm
I worked for 9 years as a PIO in Las Vegas and have assisted others with the function. As a private ambulance PIO, I left the grim reaper reports to other public safety PIOs and saved the more "good news EMS" stories and injury and illness prevention outreach features for my interactions with the news media. Building EMS awareness (for free) requires an attitude for "working for the news". EMSers make news everyday. Finding the more global EMS news story is what reporters are looking for. Children involved in a car crash lends itself to a child restraint story, A movie or TV series where EMS is in the spotlight offers opportunities for "Here's how its done in our city" news stories. "Even the experts are having a bad day in the rain," offers a potential positive spin after an ambulance crash- you get lemons, try to get the media to make lemonade.
Comment by chris on January 27, 2009 at 9:42pm
Agency values have always been patient care and clinical quality in my experience. However, targeting an audience(that includes high school and early college students) always involves the "good calls" while also spotlighting the care given to more routine patients(transfers and such).
Comment by chris on January 27, 2009 at 7:33pm
Public service announcements are a great way to increase awareness and visibility in your community.
Comment by B Meckley on January 23, 2009 at 10:08am
Does anyone make recruitment videos ?
Comment by B Meckley on January 23, 2009 at 10:07am
As a PIO or Public Relations Officer, What do you do to increase awareness in your community?

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