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To provide for the timely release of accurate information to the residents of Saline County in the event of a disaster or emergency.




          Saline County could be affected by several types of disasters, which would require the dissemination of information and instructions to the general public.


          Adequate news media exist in Saline and surrounding counties (newspaper, radio and television) that could disseminate information and instruct the general public in the event of a disaster or emergency (See Appendix 4 to Annex C).


          There are groups of limited English proficiency populations in Saline County, mainly Spanish. Dissemination of information will be in English. If necessary, the translation of emergency public information will be coordinated with the area schools' foreign languages staff.


          Prepared news releases have been developed and are located in the handbook which was given to the Emergency Management Coordinator upon the completion of this plan.



          The media serving Saline County will cooperate with local officials in the dissemination of information to the public.


          Widespread or major disasters may result in state and national media coverage.


          Media personnel from state and national levels will not necessarily be familiar with Saline County news release procedures.


          Media personnel will attempt to obtain information from other than "official sources."


          Federal and state officials may be on-site and called upon for information. Such federal and state agencies will provide PIO support to Saline County if requested.


          More than one local public information officer may be involved during emergency operations. Release of public information will be coordinated with appropriate county and/or city officials as necessary.


          During an actual or impending emergency, or international crisis, the public will expect local government to provide specific information relating to safety, survival, and protection of property.


          An effective public information program will reduce casualties and damages.




          The Public Information Officer will be located in the primary County and/or City EOC (or at a location to be designated when this plan is implemented). This place will serve as the single official point of contact for the media during an emergency.


          Release of official public information will be approved by the chief executive official and/or the chief PIO.


          Only that information released by the executive official or chief PIO will be considered official. The media will be so informed.


          Information for release will be prepared and released to the media in accordance with the format described in Appendix 2 to this Annex.


          Response organizations are responsible for coordinating with the PIO and for clearing press releases with the jurisdiction's chief executive before releasing information to the media for public use.


          Any person, department, or agency releasing information to the public of their own volition will bear the responsibility for any legal or moral ramifications and repercussions resulting from that release.


          Dissemination of public information will utilize all available media: television, radio, newspaper, social media.


          Activation of the Emergency Alert System (EAS), if necessary, will be in accordance with the State EAS Operational Plan. The chief executive official will designate those personnel with authority to activate the EAS and issue releases. Procedures will be coordinated with the appropriate radio/television officials.


          Public information personnel in the field will coordinate with the chief PIO through frequent contacts with the EOC staff.


          Periodic briefings as necessary for media personnel will be conducted by the PIO.


          A rumor control section will answer inquiries from the public and monitor public media broadcasts to insure the public is receiving accurate information.


          A major task of public information operations will be responding to inquiries. The PIO must establish procedures to inform families on the status of relatives that are injured or missing, emergency services that are available, damaged and/or restricted areas due to a disaster event, etc.


          The PIO will work with the Health and Medical Coordinator to prepare EPI materials that describe the health risks associated with each hazard, the appropriate self-help or first aid actions, and other appropriate survival measures.


          Should the need arise, the PIO will see that EPI materials are prepared for the visually and hearing impaired and non-English speaking groups.


          The PIO will coordinate with the Emergency Management Coordinator to prepare instructions for people who must evacuate from a high risk area (as a result of flooding, dam failure, etc.). These EPI materials will include the following for each threat:

Definition of the population at risk

Evacuation routes

Suggestions on the types and quantities of clothing, food, medical items, etc., evacuees should take with them

Locations of reception areas/shelters

Safe travel routes for return to residences

Centrally located staging areas and pick-up points for evacuees without private automobiles or other means of transportation.

Instructions which show the location of reception centers, shelters and lodging, feeding facilities, and medical clinics, etc.


          When an emergency occurs or threatens to occur that requires the dissemination of emergency public information, the PIO will release this information as soon as possible.


          The PIO will coordinate with State, Federal and private sector agencies to obtain technical information (health risks, weather, etc.) for release to the public and media.


          Release of public information will include pre-disaster education and answering inquiries.

Tasks to be Performed by Operating Time Frame



          Develop and conduct public information programs stressing hazard awareness and personal protection measures.


          Establish agreements with all local information media (television, radio, and print) for the dissemination of EPI material {See Appendix 3 to this Annex).

Develop procedures for:

Rumor control

News releases

Coordination with departmental PIOs

 Record keeping

Print and broadcasting


          Establish contact with local EAS stations and develop procedures for emergency release of information.


          Prepare emergency information packages for release during emergencies and distribute them to local media.


          Participate in local tests and exercises.


          Coordinate all activities with PIOs of other county and/or city departments.

Increased Readiness


          Analyze the potential disaster to ensure pertinent information is prepared for release.


          Issue information through the media and EAS to allow the public to take protective actions.


          Start rumor control operations as directed by Direction and Control.


          Alert other public information personnel.


          Establish a location for the release of information and advise the media.

Emergency Response


          Release emergency information as necessary or as directed by Direction and Control.


          Schedule and conduct briefings for the media.


          Monitor all news media reports for accuracy.


          Conduct rumor control activities.


          Issue specific instructions as required by the situation:

Appropriate protective action to be taken (i.e., evacuation instructions)

Location of shelters and/or reception centers

Places of contact for missing relatives

Restricted areas

Continued emergency services


          Coordinate the release of information from private relief agencies.


          Maintain a chronological record of disaster-related activities and news releases.


          Issue announcements urging residents to share their homes, especially basements, if applicable (i.e., tornadoes).



          Continue to distribute information as necessary.


          Continue rumor control and news briefings.


          Coordinate visitor control to the EOC and to the disaster site(s).


          Supply information concerning status of disaster-affected individuals or families.


          Coordinate EPI releases of higher levels of government.


          Participate in after-action reports and critiques.


          Develop a report listing a chronological record of events and news releases.


          Maintain operational level until the situation returns to normal.


The organizational chart for the emergency public information function is shown in Appendix 1 to this Annex.

Assignment of Responsibilities


          The Public Information Officer (PIO) is responsible for the preparation and release of public information and for rumor control. The Saline County Emergency Management Coordinator will serve as the County PIO. The PIO for each municipality will be as designated by the chief elected official or Emergency Management Coordinator.


          The Saline County Emergency Management Coordinator will also be responsible for coordinating communications for this function to include those for rumor control and emergency broadcast monitoring.


          Each operating department will furnish a PIO as required and/or necessary. Department PIO will provide information to the County and/or City PIO and help coordinate the release of public information.



          Release of public information will be under the control of the Public Information Officer.


          The Public Information Officer is a member of the EOC staff.


The line of succession for the Saline County Emergency Public Information Officer will be from the Saline County Emergency Management Coordinator through the Assistant Director.

Alternate site for PIO Operations


          In the event the EOC cannot be used or a total evacuation is necessary, PIO operations will be from a location designated by the chief elected official in charge.


          In the event of a limited emergency, PIO operations may be directed from an EOC at a site designated at that time.




          A chronological file of all news releases during a disaster will be maintained in the EOC, to include a log of these releases. (See Appendix 5, this Annex.)


          A historical chronological file of all disaster related events will also be maintained for future reference.


          All other administrative functions will be the responsibility of the Emergency Management Organization.


          Letters of understanding will be developed with local media (see Appendix 3 to this Annex).



          Communications support will be furnished by the law enforcement agencies as possible and/or required.


          All other logistical support will be the responsibility of and provided as necessary by the Emergency Management Office.



          This annex and its supporting documents will be maintained by the Saline County PIO and the County Emergency Management Coordinator.


          Samples of prepared news releases and related emergency instructions/information are contained under a separate cover furnished to the Saline County Emergency Management Agency as part of the development of this plan.


          This annex and the procedures contained therein will be reviewed and tested annually and revised as necessary.


Appendix 1- EPI Organizational Chart

Appendix 2 - Format and Procedures for News Releases

Appendix 3 - Statement of Understanding for Emergency Public Information Operations

Appendix 4 - News Media Contact Numbers

Appendix 5 - News Release Log

Appendix 6 - Sample News Releases

Attachment A - Sample Radio / TV Message


 MS Word

Attachment B - Hazardous Materials Incident


 MS Word

Attachment C - Earthquake No Info Available

Attachment D - Update on Earthquake

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