a. Public Affairs Officer. The public affairs officer (PAO) is responsible to
the commanding officer for all public affairs aspects of the disaster, including the
release of pertinent information, liaison with news media representatives and liaison
with civilian and military families who approach the base in search of information.
He will take the necessary actions to keep the commanding officer and higher
authorities continually informed concerning the informational aspects of the
disaster. In the event that civilian relief organizations are needed to assist in relief
operations, he will establish and maintain liaison with the public affairs
representatives of those organizations.
The PAO will be the sole releasing authority for all information and as such will
coordinate all public affairs inputs to reports relative to the disaster. Time and
physical circumstances permitting, he will clear all major announcements or releases
of information before public dissemination with the commanding officer.
b. Security Officer. The base security officer will ascertain at the earliest
possible moment the security implications of the disaster relative to the release of
information and access of reporters to the scene and communicate his findings to
the PAO. He will maintain constant liaison with the PAO to provide continuous
security guidance. He will, if possible, accompany the PAO, his staff, and news
media representatives to the scene of the disaster and be present at all news briefings
or conferences. If the security officer cannot be present, he will send a suitable
c. Disaster Officer. The officer designated as the disaster officer in charge of
relief operations at the disaster scene will provide the PAO with assistance in
obtaining information for release and in providing access to the disaster scene for
media representatives and release at the first opportunity. It is important that this
officer provide a continuous flow of pertinent information to the public affairs staff
for subsequent release. The containment of a fire, rescue of trapped personnel,
removal of all the dead and injured, and so forth are the types of information which
must be immediately communicated to the PAO or his representative.
d. Personnel Officer. The base personnel officer will maintain close liaison
with the PAO to facilitate the release of casualty lists according to reference (b). He
will immediately inform the PAO when receipts from next of kin notifications have
been received. In addition, the personnel officer will provide such personnel services
as may be required by the PAO to augment his staff properly with clerical help,
escorts, messengers, food handlers, drivers, photographers and personnel to render
general assistance. He will also provide officer personnel to act as assistants to the
PAO in capacities, such as next of kin information and liaison officer,
Figure 2-3.Sample command public affairs disaster planContinued.