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Collect and update member photos

All departments should have a collection of member photos on hand for media inquiries

All departments should have a collection of member photos on hand for media inquiries.

Capture a high-quality headshot photo of every member in their class A or highest level of uniform. Make sure to store photos where they are easily accessible to the department PIO and leaders. Update photos at least annually.

Such photos can serve useful in a variety of situations, but perhaps none more so than the case of a line-of-duty death (LODD).

Regardless of a department’s size or capacity to issue news statements, civilians, reporters and other emergency responders will seek out information and photographs on the department’s Facebook page. Too often the most widely shared photos are cropped and resized photos from the deceased member’s personal Facebook page, rather than a department’s official photo.

An LODD is unpredictable, but like any other low-frequency, high-consequence incidents, preplanning is critical to how your department will communicate with personnel and to the public. Having a photo already on hand is one small way to lighten the burden of tasks that will rapidly become all-encompassing for department officers and officials.

Of course, meeting the needs of media is secondary to the operational continuity of the department and the emotional support of its members. Nonetheless, there will be a thirst for information from the community you serve and the fire and EMS communities to which you belong.

Read next: How to use Facebook to announce an LODD

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