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Eric Hurst

Public Information Officer
South Metro Fire Rescue

Eric Hurst is a social media manager for South Metro Fire Rescue (SMFR) in Metro Denver Colorado.  SMFR is an ISO Class 1, internationally accredited agency located in a top 20 media market. Eric responds as the lead spokesperson to all-hazards emergencies across a 287 square mile urban, suburban and rural district.  During breaking news coverage as a Public Information Officer (PIO), Eric has created a nationally trending hashtag and his videography has gone viral multiple times across international news platforms. As a video producer and vlogger Eric contributes to the “South Metro Fire Rescue PIO” YouTube channel, the most subscribed to official fire department channel on the platform.  As a photographer Eric’s images can be found on the cover of magazines and newspapers, in various firefighting periodicals and digitally, including National Geographic online. As a social media aficionado Eric is a contributing author to FireEngineering Magazine and presents on the topic of fire service social media across the country. As a student Eric is thirsty for fresh ideas and cutting-edge technology to help raise the bar for the community and media partners he serves.

Eric Hurst’s Session(s):


YouTube, The Social Media Megaphone

During 2020 the South Metro Fire Rescue YouTube channel that I manage gained an organic following of over 100,000 subscribers. We became the second public safety agency in history to reach that benchmark. I regularly receive questions from first responder agencies across the world about SMFR's success and how they can start their own channel. I would like the opportunity to present a case study about this YouTube success, time commitment, positive, negative, and unexpected results.

Key takeaways:

  • Attendees will be presented with compelling statistics and real-life examples to justify their own official agency YouTube channel to policymakers.
  • Attendees will learn from my successes and mistakes when it comes to the technical aspects of video including capturing, editing, and producing. I will also include quick tips to improve their on-camera and storytelling presence.
  • Finally, attendees will gain an understanding of what comes next once the channel is launched. I was overwhelmed with the demand for more content, the fan mail, the visits from subscribers on vacation, and requests for agency merchandise. These things took me by surprise and I can help social media managers prepare for the results of their success.

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