Public Information
Gaston County
Emergency Operations Plan

Coordinating Agencies: Public Information
  County Manager
Cooperating Agencies: Assistant County Manager
  Emergency Management
  Others as required or requested

This annex presents a plan of action to provide prompt, authoritative and understandable emergency information to the public for natural, technological, and civil disturbance emergencies.

  A. Situation
    1. The county is vulnerable to a variety of hazards. Media outlets, if effectively employed, can be used to inform the population of the events that are occurring and how they may best respond to them.
    2. The county is served by the news media outlets listed in Attachment 1.
    3. During periods of emergency, the public needs and generally desires detailed information regarding protective action to be taken for minimizing loss of life and property. There are times, however, when disaster strikes without warning and the public information system cannot react rapidly enough to properly inform the public about the hazard. For this reason, it is important that prior to the occurrence of an emergency, the public is made aware of potential hazards and the protective measures that can be employed.
    4. The public may accept as valid rumors, hearsay, and half-truth information that may cause unnecessary fear and confusion.
  B. Assumptions
    1. Local print and broadcast media will cooperate in broadcasting and publishing detailed disaster‑related instructions to the public.
    2. Depending on the severity of the emergency, telephone communication may be disrupted. Local and regional radio/television stations without emergency power may also be off the air. If this occurs, public address systems on emergency vehicles and door‑to‑door sweeps may be initiated.
    3. Demand for information may be very heavy; therefore, sufficient staff will be provided and trained for this.
    4. Within the National Response Framework, public information operates as an Emergency Support Function (ESF-15) and is referred to as External Affairs. This ESF incorporates emergency public information and protective action guidance as well as media and community relations, Congressional and internal affairs, tribal and insular affair.
  A. General
    1. Emergency Public Information (EPI) efforts will focus on specific, event‑related information.
    2. This information generally will be of an instructional nature focusing on such things as warning, evacuation, and shelter. It also is important to keep the public informed of the general progress of events. A special effort will be made to report the facts as accurately as possible and provide advice concerning necessary protective actions. Rumor control will be a major aspect of the information program and will operate from the EOC.
  B. Execution
    1. Ongoing public education programs will be conducted to increase public awareness of potential hazards and necessary responses.
    2. The County Emergency Management Administrator will coordinate with media to provide information and education programs relating to emergency management.
    3. Emergency Public Information documents for major hazards will be prepared and maintained during normal periods of readiness. When evacuation is imminent, public information will expand its capabilities to answer public inquiries and prepare or modified public announcements.
    4. The Gaston County Public Information Officer will coordinate, as needed, a bank of phones to assist county residents with problems associated with the disaster.
    5. Support staff to the Public Information Officer will come from different county agencies, which will reassign staff to be used temporarily. Expansion and demobilization of this assignment will be made depending on demand of the general public.
    6. The Public Information Officer will coordinate locations and time for press briefings and releases. A briefing area will be set up for this purpose. Normally, the media briefing area will be the conference room, upstairs in the EOC building at 615 N. Highland Street, Gastonia. Alternately, or if the conference room is not available, the media briefing location will be determined at the time of the event.
    7. The Incident Commander of each incident will designate on-scene Public Information Officers. If needed, the on-scene information officer will coordinate their information releases with the County PIO. The Incident Commander may also request public information personnel through the County Emergency Management office.
  A. General - The Public Information Officer, at the approval of the County Manager or Emergency Management Administrator, is responsible for all news releases and public information disseminated at the county level. In times of emergency the Public Information Officer will operate from the EOC or other appropriate location.
  B. Educational and Public Information Programs - The Emergency Management Administrator will provide the media with information on new developments affecting emergency management. The Emergency Management Administrator may also utilize other types of information and programs on emergency management such as delivering lectures or presentations, organizing tours of the EOC, distributing education brochures and showing films.

The line of succession is:
  A. Public Information Officer
  B. Emergency Management Administrator
  C. Fire Marshal

Attachment 1
Media Outlets


  Office Fax
Gaston Gazette P.O. Box 1538 Gastonia, NC 28053 704-864-3291 704-884-3031
Charlotte Observer 407 East Long Ave. Gastonia, NC 28054 704-868-7730 704-868-7755
Business Journal  120 West Morehead St. Charlotte, NC 28202 704-973-1100 704-973-1102
Cherryville Eagle P.O. Box 699 Cherryville, NC 28021 704-435-6752 704-435-8293


  Office Fax
WCGC 6021 W. Wilkinson Blvd Belmont, NC 28012 704-825-2812 704-825-2127
WGNC / WOHS 1511 W. Dixon Blvd. Shelby, NC 28152 704-435-3297 704-487-6313
WZRH P.O. Box 477 Dallas, NC 28034 704-922-5960 704-922-6998
WCSL / WLON 1366 Startown Rd. Lincolnton, NC 28092 704-735-8072  
WLNK (Nuclear LP-1) 1 Julian Price Place Charlotte, NC 28208 704-374-3500  


  Office Fax
WCNC 1001 Wood Ridge Center Dr Charlotte, NC 28217 704-329-3602 704-357-4975
WSOC P.O. Box 34665 Charlotte, NC 28234 704-867-4513 704-335-4736
WBTV 1 Julian Price Place Charlotte, NC 28208 704-374-3691 704-374-3671