Emporia hosts quarterly PIO meeting; pair discuss tornado experience

Members of the Kansas Association of Public Information Officers came to Emporia for their quarterly meeting on Thursday, Nov. 7, learning about the experiences of two of their own helping in the aftermath of the devastating Moore, Okla., tornado earlier this year.

Johnson County Sheriff's Office representative Tom Erickson and Kansas Department of Labor spokesperson Cassie Sparks served in different capacities in June, roughly three weeks after the EF-5 tornado killed 23 people and injured close to 400. Erickson noted two main lessons from the information effort afterward.

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Sparks was on her first deployment as a public information officer.

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Erickson says federal rules can change from incident to incident, so it's important to know the changes ahead of time. It's also critical that every agency involved in disaster relief put out the same information so not to confuse the public.

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