Public information course in Durant

By: Jalah Gray Email
By: Jalah Gray Email

DURANT, OK - The Oklahoma Office of Emergency Management says with tornado season just around the corner, they want all public information officials to be prepared. Jalah Gray shows us how their 2 day public information course is teaching officials how to get the word out when every second counts.

When disaster strikes, getting information to the public quickly can be a matter of life or death.

"Everyone wants to work with the media, that's not a problem it's just how fast can we get it out there and we want to make sure the information is accurate."

OEM Deputy Director, Michelann Ooten, says social media has made it more important than ever for public information officials to keep up to speed.

"You can't get the information out fast enough, people need it and they need it very quickly so that they can take action to protect themselves and their famlies." said Ooten.

"It's about preparation, it's about meeting each other before a disaster happens." said Jacqueline Chandler.

And that's why FEMA Public Affairs Specialist, Jacqueline Chandler, says she's taking this public information course.

"You don't want to exchange business cards when a disaster is actually in place, you want to work with people, develop relationships and know how you can work with each other prior to anything happening." Chandler said.

"Get together, exchange ideas, see the value of their office, where it fits into the whole scheme of the whole thing." Denison Assistant Fire Chief, Bill Ray, said.

The course brought together more than 40 people from different agencies, including law enforcement, fire departments, emergency management, and local universities.

"Learning together is that much more helpful and actually having to do exercises that are really putting us in the position, in the scenario." said Michele Campbell.

Ooten says bringing these officials together before a disaster hits, means they'll be better prepared when one actually does.

"Whether it's tornados, wildfires, flooding or even ice storms, it's very important to keep the public informed, and makes sure that they know what to do to protect lives to protect property." said Ooten.

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