Fire Headlines Podcast Icon - Community

Public Outreach

March 27, 2024

24

With fire season just around the corner, Chief Horton and Chief Buchanan are away in Reno this week for the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) conference. Fire Headlines host Samantha Didion takes this time to talk with Natalie Weber, the Public Information Officer (PIO) for the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) Southwest District, about public outreach efforts for fire season. Natalie began her career in television news, eventually transitioning to becoming a reporter and anchor. Her diverse experience in media and government communication came together in her current position as a PIO. Natalie sheds light on her dynamic interactions with her colleagues, emphasizing the integral role of teamwork in emergency response. As a PIO, she collaborates closely with firefighters on the ground, ensuring accurate and timely communication to the public.

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Hear expert insight on public outreach during fire season with Natalie Weber, PIO for ODF, on WFCA’s Fire Headlines Podcast.

With fire season just around the corner, Chief Horton and Chief Buchanan are away in Reno this week for the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) conference. Fire Headlines host Samantha Didion takes this time to talk with Natalie Weber, the Public Information Officer (PIO) for the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) Southwest District, about public outreach efforts for fire season.

Natalie began her career in television news, eventually transitioning to becoming a reporter and anchor. Her diverse experience in media and government communication came together in her current position as a PIO. Natalie sheds light on her dynamic interactions with her colleagues, emphasizing the integral role of teamwork in emergency response. As a PIO, she collaborates closely with firefighters on the ground, ensuring accurate and timely communication to the public.

Preparing for Fire Season

With fire season looming in Oregon, Natalie discusses the importance of proactive public outreach. From promoting defensible space measures to collaborating with organizations like Keep Oregon Green for statewide PSAs, she emphasizes the multi-faceted approach to community engagement. Natalie’s efforts aim to empower residents to take necessary precautions and foster a culture of fire prevention.

Tips for Smaller Fire Departments and Fire Service Leaders

Natalie offers insights for fire service leaders as well, emphasizing the pivotal role of PIOs in shaping public perception and narrative. Recognizing the resource constraints faced by smaller departments, Natalie stresses the significance of cultivating relationships with local media outlets and leveraging social media platforms as accessible communication channels. By prioritizing responsiveness and consistency, even departments without dedicated PIOs can amplify their outreach efforts and become successful in conveying agency values and services to the community.

Utilizing Social Media for Outreach

Social media emerges as a vital tool in Natalie’s arsenal for disseminating critical information and engaging with the community in real-time. From providing incident updates to fostering direct dialogue with residents, platforms like Facebook serve as invaluable communication channels. Natalie advocates for consistency and authenticity in social media presence, urging fire service leaders to embrace these platforms as extensions of their agency’s voice.

Contact Natalie Weber at: [email protected]

You can email Fire Headlines at [email protected].

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