I N T HE N EWS ! Family: EMS Does Not Respond After Man Collapses Cleveland fire, ambulance merger faces obstacles State agency clears Alameda paramedics of wrongdoing County Examining EMS Privatization Woman Falls From Ambulance, Dies At Hospital Allentown EMS faces $400,000 deficit due to city council vote, bureau manager says
H OW D O Y OU D O I T ? Public Relations person (CPR classes, articles, news releases) Public Information Officer Who ever is available Make it up as we go
P UBLIC R ELATIONS ( PROACTIVE ) Is the practice of managing the flow of information between an organization and its publics. informationorganization publics Their aim is often to persuade the public, investors, partners, employees and other stakeholders to maintain a certain point of view about the company, its leadership, products or of political decisions.
P UBLIC I NFORMATION O FFICER (PIOs) are the communications coordinators or spokespersons of certain governmental organizations (i.e. city, county, school district, state government and police/fire departments). They differ from public relations departments in that marketing plays a more limited role. The primary responsibility of a PIO is to provide information to the media and public as required by law and according to the standards of their profession.
THIS IS OFF THE RECORD A phrase which will make the reporter carefully note everything that you say, and reproduce it to your acute embarrassment.
N EW REPORTS REVEAL STATE AMBULANCE INVESTIGATIONS INDIANAPOLIS - There is new information detailing the failures of a nursing home and ambulance company that refused to call 911 for a cardiac arrest patient, left waiting for help. It took XXX Ambulance 21 minutes to get help to Barbara Parcel, only to discover another problem. The LPN told investigators the crew was not equipped to handle a cardiac arrest. The fire department had to be called anyway.
C OMPANY R ESPONSE "Well, our response time wasn't 20 minutes," denied a company spokesman, who spoke in the company's lobby. A memo says "A 'no rollover' policy had been implemented and had been rescinded around the time this run occurred. It appears the dispatcher was unaware of this policy change."
I DONT THINK YOULL BE ABLE TO UNDERSTAND THIS, SO ILL TRY TO SAY IT AS SIMPLY AS POSSIBLE Never ever talk down to a reporter. OK, so some of them would struggle to answer the first question on Millionaire, but they know when theyre being patronised
LEWIS COUNTY, Ky (WSAZ) -- When 60 year old Leon Mosley slipped in the rain on his daughters porch last week, cracking his head and breaking his leg, the family had to set up a makeshift tarp tent before help arrived. Family said he was freezing and shaking. They also said Mosley laid there for over two hours before the ambulance showed up to help.
C OMPANY R ESPONSE The company said unlike the property tax funded Boyd County EMS, Lewis County offers zero subsidies. The challenges of increasing days and nights of just one or two ambulances in service are geographic and economic. There is not enough population to create subsidies to add additional resources, "It makes it extremely difficult to service rural counties.
WERE THE BEST IN THE BUSINESS As soon as the reporter leaves, theyll check up on your rivals to see whether youre boasting
Q UESTIONS CONTINUE OVER EMS SERVICE Tales of kidnap and thievery are the stuff of adventure stories, but somehow they have crept into an ongoing public debate about Austin County EMS. In recent months, EMS consistently defends itself against members of the community that question its financial efficiency and whether it prevents patients from going to Bellville General Hospital.
T HE R ESPONSE There is no other department in the county as efficient as us,said EMS Deputy Director Jim Turnbull. Our money goes back (to the general fund), which means we support the county.
WEVE HAD FANTASTIC PRESS REVIEWS IN THE..... Journalists prefer to make their own minds up. Being told that they should copy their colleagues is not a good idea
S IX - FIGURE PENSIONS FOR HUNDREDS OF RETIRED S AN J OSE COPS, FIREFIGHTERS Veteran San Jose Fire Capt. Randy Sekany hung up his helmet in December at the age of 53. But he didn't leave behind his $100,000-a- year-plus salary. Instead, he joined the ranks of hundreds of former city workers making six-figure sums, with a pension that will pay him $121,510 this year.
T HE R ESPONSE San Jose's growing pension costs have prompted the city manager to suggest paring back retirement benefits for new hires, but the unions must agree to such changes and so far are balking. Sekany, who remains president of the firefighters union, and other city retirees note that they don't receive Social Security and that, as employees, they helped pay for their pensions. "Our members got benefits that allow them to maintain the lifestyle they had as an active employee," said Sekany, who spent 28 years with the city. "They certainly don't become millionaires as a result of their pensions."
THE PERSON WHO DEALS WITH THIS IS AWAY FOR TWO WEEKS – CAN YOU CALL BACK THEN? Youll receive a very short answer to this one.
N EIGHBORS BLAME SLOW 911 RESPONSE IN G A. FIRE By Christian Boone The Atlanta Journal-Constitution GRANT PARK, Ga. Neighbors of a Grant Park man whose home was gutted by fire say it took at least 25 minutes before firefighters arrived to douse the blaze, raising questions how long it took Fulton County's 911 center to get the message to the Fire Department. Rinney said Reed told her his wife had tried calling 911 twice but was put on hold both times. The couple finally had to flee.
T HE R ESPONSE Atlanta Fire Department spokesman Capt. Bill May said an initial review indicated firefighters arrived at the scene within six minutes after learning about the fire over the radio. He said Sunday night that the department hasn't been able to trace when the calls came into 911 because of a computer malfunction. May said it was possible a wrong address was given to the 911 operator, which could have caused some confusion. Whatley said she did not know the Reeds' address but gave the 911 operator her own address, two doors down from the fire. May also said the delay could have been caused by the number of people who called 911 and were put on hold, hung up and redialed. "This creates a logjam," May said, because the 911 operator would have called back the number that first appeared on his or her computer screen, even if the caller had hung up. Attempts to reach Crystal Williams, Fulton County 911 Center interim director, were unsuccessful Sunday night.
THIS AFTERNOON? DONT BE RIDICULOUS – WERE NOT WORKING TO YOUR DEADLINES The media is driven by tight deadlines. This is one of the best ways to guarantee no publicity (or worse, bad publicity).
The jobs of three EVAC employees with more than 30 years of combined experience are up in smoke after they were found in violation of the county's nicotine policy, a county spokesman confirmed Saturday. But the three fired county employees say they believe they should be offered a second chance. "I was terminated for something I do at home and is perfectly legal," said Mike Stone, who had worked as a paramedic for EVAC for 5 1/2 years.
T HE R ESPONSE Reached by phone Saturday, a county spokesman said three EVAC employees were fired under the county's no smoking policy, but he did not know their names. In October, the private EVAC was taken over by Volusia County, meaning all its employees had to pass a blood test showing they were nicotine free, Byron said. The County said all EVAC employees are on workplace probation for six months, so they don't have the same rights as full- fledged employees.
NO COMMENT A popular one this, which leads to one of two possible outcomes – XYZ Co. declined to confirm or deny rumours that…. Or XYZ Co. refused point-blank to talk to us about…. Neither of these is good news for you
T HOMSON FAMILY SAYS BABY DIED AFTER EMS WORKERS REFUSED HOSPITAL TRANSPORT Baby Leanna died Saturday, and her parents say they still don't know why. "When I first got up, I was laying on my bed and looking at my daughter. She was breathing funny," he said. "Then white stuff started coming out her nose and mouth." Few called 911 and EMS workers came to their house. He says they told both him and his sister the baby was fine. "My sister said, 'You need to take her to the hospital.' She was mad because they kept refusing, 'No we're not gonna take her to the hospital. She's OK. She just had gas.
T HE R ESPONSE G.B.I. Special Agent in Charge Mike Ayers says their agency is investigating the death. He points out that the G.B.I. frequently investigates infant deaths, however, and their involvement does not necessarily indicate any criminal fault. Coroner Rhusha Mack told News 12 the initial autopsy was inconclusive, and the medical examiner with the G.B.I. lab in Augusta might not determine a cause of death for several days. Mack was tracking down the baby's medical history records Wednesday morning. Thomson EMS officials did not respond to requests for information.
T HE R IGHT W AY Congrats! You have a service that has attracted the interest of the news media. Handled correctly, this is better than thousands of dollars worth of advertising
P RIOR TO THE INTERVIEW Be prepared. The reporter has indicated hes looking for a story that talks about the service in a generally positive light. Even if there is no indication the story is a critique–you need to be prepared to talk about all aspects–good or potentially bad–of the service.
R EMEMBER Be yourself–but not too much. Be friendly, but remain professional with the reporter. The reporter is there to get information, not necessarily make friends. Remember, nothing you say is ever off the record. Saying only what you would want to see on the front page of the newspaper
D URING THE INTERVIEW 1. Make the interview worthwhile for you. Tell your story! 2. Deliver your key answers. quotable quotes and anecdotes. 3. Listen very carefully to each question. Questions that are "off the subject" may be a signal that the interviewer doesn't understand the topic and that you might want to offer a quick overview. 4. Speak only for yourself or your organization- not for your industry as a whole, unless you are an industry spokesman.
D URING THE INTERVIEW 5. If you get angry, count to ten before proceeding. 6. Avoid an argument with the reporter. Your argumentativeness, not his or hers, may show up in print or on the air. 7. If interrupted by one reporter while answering questions from another, during a news conference, wait for your turn and proceed with your comments on the original question before changing the subject. 8. Challenge any effort to put words in your mouth. Otherwise you may end up appearing to agree to points you disagree with, or admitting something you don't agree with.
D URING THE INTERVIEW 9. When presented with a laundry list of questions, identify the question you are responding to before you answer. If the reporter is interested in the other questions, he or she may give them back to you. 10. Broaden your answers to make your points - don't play verbal ping pong with the interviewer. 11. Put your main point or conclusion first, followed by supporting points or arguments if necessary. In business particularly, many are conditioned to give supporting points before the main point- in an interview you must do the opposite. 12. Speak plain English. Jargon or company lingo or abbreviations that may be familiar to you as an insider may have no meaning to the general public.
D URING THE INTERVIEW 13. Don't be evasive. Evasiveness is a signal to the interviewer that you have something to hide. 14. Accept your responsibility as the representative of your organization being interviewed. Don't pass the buck. 15. If you don't know the answer to a question, say so. Offer to find out the answer as soon as possible and then provide the information to the interviewer. Resist any temptation to make up an answer, or to withhold information, after you have promised it.
D URING THE INTERVIEW 16.If you absolutely cannot divulge information, state why in a matter of fact way. 17. Be positive, not defensive. Take the trouble to present your point of view in a positive manner. 18. Resist any temptation or effort to get you to attack other organizations or competitors. Your accusations or attack may preempt all the rest of your interview. 19. Tell the truth. A half-truth is a half-lie. You are remiss if you allow a reporter to accept a partial truth as a truthful answer. You may be known into eternity as one who did not tell the truth and therefore is not credible.
A T THE E ND When the interview is finished, thank the reporter for her time and interest. Offering a one-page info sheet is a nice touch–put key message points about the new service as well as any website information on the sheet
D O N OT Do not ask the reporter to let you read the story before it is published. It. Aint. Happening. It makes you look unsophisticated or worse: like youve said something youll regret.
P OST S TORY After the story is published, send a thank-you note to the reporter. Not a kiss-butt obsequious love letter, just a professional note or email thanking them for their interest and the great story. Most reporters only hear from people who are ticked off. Dont you like to be thanked for your work?
M EMPHIS F IRE D EPARTMENT WILL TRY OUT SMALLER EMS VEHICLES The Memphis Fire Department will study the use of sport utility vehicles to respond to emergency medical calls for one year, backing down for now from its wish of making the vehicles a permanent part of the force. Benson believes using the smaller ARVs would save on fuel and maintenance costs without hampering response times. Benson said the city would save $17,000 per year on fuel and maintenance for each ARV compared to costs for the larger vehicles. The Fire Department responds to more than 100,000 calls annually. Benson said three out of every four calls received by the department are for emergency medical service. Currently, the city responds with large fire trucks equipped with EMS gear and supplies
W HAT TO DO PRIOR TO YOUR GETTING A CALL FOR INTERVIEWS Have contacts at all news outlets Offer ride-a-longs or tours Work with the media Be a source of information
A CTUAL C ASE Its 10:00 am and a heads-up call from Fox News 2, doing a story on a mother that lost her 6 month old baby. The African-American family is upset that two white paramedic casually got equipment and walked up to the house. New 2 will be here at 13:00 for a on-camera interview.