5 New Year’s resolutions for Utah PIOs

2016 is coming soon. What are your plans?

With the new year swiftly approaching, I hope you can look back on 2015 with a fondness for any personal growth you’ve achieved. We tend to grow the most and in unexpected ways from difficult situations, but we’re not always going to be confronted by personal or public tragedies. So there are things we can do to always ensure we are growing and preparing.

During this time when people may sing about brown paper packages tied up with strings, a prepared PIO is one of my favorite things. Here is a list of five things you can do (start preparing now) to be even more ready than you currently are. Don’t feel overwhelmed to do them all. Just pick one and see what happens as your awesomeness increases.

1. Take (or host) a class
We’re going to see some great training take place in Utah this year. The Basic PIO (G290) and JIS/JIC Planning course (G291) are scheduled out through the middle of the year. We’re always looking for ways to bring the course to other areas of the state. Let us know if you are interested in hosting one.

But we’ll also have the All Hazards IMT PIO course (L952) to help PIOs prepare to work on an Incident Management Team in February. We’ll also have an All Hazards Task Force/Strike Team unit leader course for PIOs to build your capability of leading a PIO strike team if necessary. That course will be in April. See the training calendar here.

2. Check out your go kit
What happens if you need to respond to a JIC, a long-term incident or an incident scene? What tools do you have at the ready? What items will you wish you had?

During the Hildale response in September, the PIO team was relieved to find that one member of the JIC not only brought an extension cord reel that allowed four devices to plug in, but also a portable printer and a fly swatter. Another member brought a mobile hot spot that allowed up to five devices to connect to a separate cell network. A few people brought candy. What can you add to your go kit this year?

Here’s one example:

3. Hold a meeting
Do the PIOs in your county or region get together either in person or virtually? If your county doesn’t have a person listed on this page, your PIOs probably aren’t getting together very often. Make this the year that you spearhead efforts to get local PIOs together. The stronger our local networks are, the better we will be able to respond together in any crisis, public safety or otherwise. Check your training budget to see if it can accommodate some doughnuts and milk. Remember, if you feed them, they will come.

4. Meet someone new
Our relationships will get us through the good and the bad times. Think about who you would like to know. Then just call that person to say hi. You don’t have to start working on contingency plans or save the world. Just talk for a minute and be glad you are meeting now instead of during a disaster.

5. Attend a conference
Opportunities abound for learning in large groups and for trading ideas with people you rarely see in person.

Here are some options:

April – Government Social Media Conference (Reno)
May – Governor’s Public Safety Summit (St. George)
September – Utah PIO Association Conference (St. George)
October – NIOA annual conference (Nashville)

So, what are your PIO New Year’s resolutions? Feel free to share below.

Joe Dougherty, @PIO_Joe
Utah Division of Emergency Management

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