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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

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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