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.
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.