Media awareness and response courses offered

Published 9:52 am Monday, April 4, 2011

Whether it be roadside, at the scene of an emergency, or in a crisis situation, rural first responders are often thrust into the role of a public information officer fielding questions from the news media and working with media outlets to quickly and effectively communicate information to the public.

The Rural Domestic Preparedness Consortium (RDPC) is making it easier for emergency responders in Ironton to step into that role by delivering a free U.S. Department of Homeland-certified media awareness course that provides valuable insight into helping to understand how the media works and how best to work with available media outlets.

This six-hour instructor-led course, AWR 209 Dealing with the Media: A Short Course for Rural First Responders will be offered on April 23, 2011 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Perry Township Volunteer Fire Department.

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The course will give emergency responders the skills and knowledge they need to quickly adopt the role of a public information officer if and when needed and to communicate with the public through the news media.

Participants will learn both in a classroom-lecture setting and through group activities.

Many rural first responder organizations do not have a full- or part-time public information officer on staff, therefore, making this training a valuable asset in learning more about building media relationships and effective communication skills in disseminating information to the news media.

All training delivered by RDPC is certified by Department of Homeland Security and is offered tuition-free for a broad scope of stakeholders in qualifying jurisdictions, including the traditional emergency response disciplines, and other emergency response functions as defined by the National Response Framework, as well as critical infrastructure owners and operators.

RDPC is a U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) National Training and Education Integration Division partnership of academic institutions with a vision of creating an environment wherein rural communities across America will have the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to enhance the safety, security and quality of life for their citizens.

Current members of the consortium include East Tennessee State University, Eastern Kentucky University, The University of Findlay, Iowa Central Community College, NorthWest Arkansas Community College, and North Carolina Central University. Each of these institutions possesses extensive and unique capabilities relating to rural emergency preparedness training.

For further information, contact Jarrod Withers, communications specialist, at (606) 677-6092, or e-mail the consortium at You may also visit the consortium web site at To schedule this or any other RDPC training, please contact the RDPC at (877) 855-7372.