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Jennifer Donelan

Director of Communications
DC Fire and EMS Department

Jennifer Donelan is a twenty-year veteran Emmy award-winning broadcast journalist who worked locally in Baton Rouge, Detroit and Washington DC media markets and as a National Correspondent for CBS affiliates. Throughout her career, her primary area of reporting was focused on matters of public safety. In 2016, she became the Director of the Media Relations Division for Prince George’s County Police in Maryland, one of the top thirty largest police departments in the United States. She expanded her work in public safety communications in 2020 when she took over as Director of Public Information for the Prince George’s County Maryland Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department. In August of 2021, she joined the DC Fire and EMS Department as the agency’s Chief Communications Officer. Currently, Ms. Donelan serves on the board of Special Olympics Maryland, she is a member of the Links, Incorporated‘s National Heart Links and Walk For Healthy Living Committee. She is the host of the United States Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) podcast, “The Beat”.  Donelan is also the proud recipient of a Woman’s Day magazine Red Dress Award for her contributions in women’s heart health advocacy. This year, she received the  “Best Social Media Video” award from the International Association of Fire Fighters which represents more than 325,000 career Fire fighters and paramedics across the United States and Canada.

Jennifer Donelan’s Session(s):

12:00 p.m.–12:45 p.m. Pacific Time —

"Stop the Bleed" - How DC Fire and EMS Launched Into A New Era of Communications Using Social & Video

The DC Fire and EMS Department’s Media & Community Relations Division made a calculated effort to establish itself as a public safety communications leader in the Washington DC region and within the fire service within a measured time period. Key hires over the past five years and a strategy emphasizing timely and consistent messaging with a recent focus on increased quality video production took the Department into a new era of communications.

A veteran fire buff, a seasoned government servant, and two former journalists make up the team that is pushing to ensure the comeback is the new standard of how best to tell the Department’s story and how to cement positive relationships with the community and the media.

Participants will learn how one of the nation's busiest fire and EMS department currently utilizes social media and video to provide the public with real-time information on critical incidents, special events, as well as for internal and external messaging. The team also shares what they did after protestors stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021, as an example of the incorporation of video messaging used to capture the actions of the men and women who serve the District of Columbia 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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