Dr. Peter Marghella, speaking on the topic of the coronavirus outbreak on a recent Talk Back show, said one of the most important aspects of dealing with the subject was what he termed ‘managing the message’, getting the correct and accurate information out to the public as quickly as possible.

Coincidentally, the Missoula County Office of Emergency Management has announced training that is available primarily for public information officers and joint information center operations during times of emergency.

Deputy DES Coordinator Nick Holloway has details on the upcoming training.

“We do have a class in public information and joint information centers coming up at the end of April,” said Holloway. “This class will basically teach people how to get the right information to the right people at the right time. Whenever there’s a major incident going on people need information to stay safe, and this teaches folks how to work together to get that information.”

Holloway said the training is specifically for those in the information business.

“This is for anybody that might have a role in information for their organization or agency, so it’s mostly for professionals,” he said. “The other nice thing about this training is that it will bring together some folks that might have to work together in some real world incidents so that they’re not all working in a silo, so it’s an opportunity for folks to work together before a disaster occurs.”

Holloway emphasized the importance of having the right training in public information.

“People live and die by information,” he said. “Using this coronavirus situation as an example, there is some bad information out there that tells people that by ingesting garlic that it can help them not get the virus. When people hear information that is not correct like that, that does nothing to help them be safe, so it is absolutely critical to get the right information out to folks.”

The training will be April 28-30 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and will be held at the Missoula Emergency Services Training Center at 1220 Burlington Avenue.

There is no charge for the training.

To register, click here.

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