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

Good bye, #UTPIO15! Thanks for playing!

Well, another wonderful conference has come to an end. Thanks to everyone who helped plan the conference, to those who presented and of course, to those who attended. We hope you were able to take away something that will benefit you in your job. Feel free to check out the tweets from the conference here.

Mark your calendars for next year’s conference:

Sept. 27-28, 2016
Courtyard by Marriott, St. George
Hashtag: #UTPIO16

Thank you for your feedback on the evaluation forms. We are processing those and look forward to bringing you another wonderful conference next year.

Cheers to our leadership team for 2016:

Justin Hoyal, president
Joe Dougherty, Vice President
Wade Mathews, secretary
Roxeanne Vainuku, officer at large
Robin Heiden, officer at large
Charla Haley, officer at large
Steve Sautter, past president


and to those who received awards at the conference:

Tina Brown, South Jordan City, Communicator of the Year
Todd Royce, Utah Highway Patrol, Media Relations
Kim Wells, West Jordan City, Team Player

What was your favorite session of the conference?

#UTPIO15 is now – Check The Tweets!

Hey PIOs! We’re so happy so many people have come to St. George for this year’s conference. We’re getting under way shortly with the first presentations.

Follow along on Twitter to see all of this year’s tweets using the hashtag #UTPIO15.

We made one last-minute change, inserting two breakout sessions about the Hildale Flood response from a public information perspective.

If you’re not here this year, we hope to see you next year!

T-Minus Three Weeks

We are just three weeks from the start of our awesome annual PIO conference. We’re excited for everyone who has registered already. We’ll see you Sept. 29-30. 

The hashtag for the conference is #UTPIO15. Use it. Use it well. 


Registration for the conference is still open for $225 plus your lodging in St. George. 

Don’t miss great presentations, such as using the JIC for planned events, working with Spanish media, working with media during civil unrest, advanced social media and organizing PIO strike teams. More presentations will be featured in our next email. 

This year, we are accepting registrations online for people who want to pay by credit card. If you register on Eventbrite, you do not need to fill out a paper registration form. 

See UtahPIO.org/conference for all of that great info.

Utah VOST 1

On another note, we are still looking for people who want to be part of our digital volunteer team, Utah VOST 1, and its leadership team. Let us know. 

Earlybird registration closes soon

Just a quick reminder that the cheapest price for attending the Utah PIO Association annual conference ($200) will be gone August 29.

Please get your registrations by Friday to take advantage of the cheaper rate.

This year, we are accepting registrations online for people who want to pay by credit card. If you register on Eventbrite, you do not need to fill out a paper registration form.

For people who need to pay some other way, please download and fill out this form and get it to Patrice Thomas as soon as possible.

Starting August 29, registration costs $225.

See you at the conference!

Joe Dougherty