Ashleigh Hensch
Public Information Officer 

315 SW 5th St.
Suite 107
Lawton, OK 735015

Mission Statement
“To release accurate and timely information, particularly regarding information on public health and safety and protection, during emergencies as well as the day-to-day activities of Comanche County.”

Emergencies occur every day somewhere in the United States. These emergencies are large and small, and range from fires and hazardous material incidents to natural, man-made and technological disasters.

Each incident requires a response. Whether from different departments within the same jurisdiction, from mutual aid partners, or from State and Federal agencies, responders need to be able to work together, communicate with, and depend on each other.

On February 28, 2003, in order to provide standards for domestic incident response, President Bush signed Homeland Security Presidential Directive-5. HSPD-5 authorized the Secretary of Homeland Security to develop the National Incident Management System, or NIMS. NIMS provides for interoperability and compatibility among all responders.

One of NIMS management structures is Public Information Systems. The purpose of this includes communicating timely and accurate information to the public during emergency situations.

The Public Information Officer (PIO) is a key member of the NIMS command staff. The PIO is responsible for interfacing with the public and media and/or with other agencies with incident-related information requirements. The PIO develops accurate and complete information on the incident’s cause, size and current situation; resources committed; and other matter of general interest for both internal and external consumption.

The PIO is the main source of communications including: development of message content such as incident facts, health risk concerns, pre-incident and post-incident preparedness recommendations, warnings issued, incident information, messages, audiences, and strategies for when, where, how, and by whom the messages will be delivered.

The PIO also advises the Incident Command on all public information matters related to the management of the incident. This information may include media and public inquiries, emergency public information and warnings, rumor monitoring and control, media monitoring, and other functions required to coordinate and disseminate accurate and timely information related to each individual incident.

“Disaster may strike at any time and any place. Whether caused by the forces of nature or precipitated by the actions of man, disaster can take lives and destroy property. Our best defense against this devastation is an informed public.” – FEMA

Primary Duties of the Public Information Officer (PIO)
– The main objective/concern of the PIO is the safety of the public and ensuring the information release is accurate, timely and easy to understand.

– Work directly with our local agencies and government officials to gather and coordinate accurate and timely information through the media, particularly regarding information on public health and safety and protection, in order to inform the public during emergencies as well as the day-to-day activities of Comanche County.

– The PIO is responsible for management and coordination of media activities.

– To act as liaison between agency department heads/chiefs, or their spokespersons, government officials and the media.

– Serves as primary contact for anyone who wants information about an incident and the response to it.