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There is no playbook for a mass-fatality event such as the one experienced in Pittsburgh on Oct. 27, 2018. However, these events are becoming more common, so people and organizations must prepare for when it happens to them.
In Pittsburgh, many things went right that day, including the quick establishment of a media staging area, the clear use of a single voice information source, interagency PIO cooperation and support, media cooperation, and the protection of the injured.
Conversely, several things went wrong, including inefficient use of social media, communication among secondary PIOs, technical problems, and the overextension of high-ranking Public Safety officials.
While no playbook exists, Pittsburgh Public Safety’s PIO Office has taken steps and implemented plans to be prepared for the next event. We learned from experience. Your agency can too.