National Wildfire Coordinating Group

Public Information Officer Type 2

PIO2 decorative banner: photos depicting PIO2 position.  PIO2 position description: The Public Information Officer (PIO2), a member of the Command Staff, is responsible for the formulation and release of information about the incident to the news media, local communities, incident personnel, other appropriate agencies and organizations, and for the management of all Public Information Officers assigned to the incident.

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PIO2 Incident Position Description

The Public Information Officer Type 2 (PIO2) participates in the collection and dissemination of incident information and may be the first public point of contact. They may be assigned to information center operations, community engagement, media relations, or other branches. The PIO2 supervises the public information function of an Incident Management Team (IMT) and may support a branch of a Type 1 IMT. The PIO2 may report to the Public Affairs Officer (PAO), Agency Administrator (AA), or Incident Commander (IC). The PIO2 works in the Command functional area.

The PIO2 performs position duties commensurate with Type 2 incident complexity and characteristics stated in the Interagency Standards for Fire and Fire Aviation Operations (Red Book).
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Leadership Level 4, Leader of Leaders (Provide Direction)

  • For additional information review Level 4 description, expected behaviors and knowledge, suggested development goals, and self-study opportunities.

Prepare and Mobilize

  • Ensure individual readiness.
  • Gather critical information pertinent to the assignment.
  • Travel to and check in at assignment.
  • Review Incident Action Plan (IAP) and/or other available documents/sources and obtain briefing, objectives, and intent from supervisor.
  • Obtain briefing from current PIO and/or agency PAO regarding status of incident situation or branch operations.

Build the Team

  • Assemble and validate readiness of assigned personnel and equipment.
  • Establish and communicate chain of command, reporting procedures, and risk management processes.
  • Establish a common operating picture with supervisor and subordinates.
  • Identify assigned resources and maintain accountability.
  • Assess needs and maintain appropriate staffing level for successful performance and transition.
  • Mentor and train assigned resources. Provide training opportunities for self and others where available, depending on incident opportunities and span of control.
  • Assess the ability of assigned resources and place appropriately.

Supervise and Direct Work Assignments

  • Identify, analyze, and use relevant situational information to make informed decisions and take appropriate actions.
  • Adjust actions based on changing information and evolving situational awareness.
  • Implement contingency plans as directed.
  • Communicate changing conditions.
  • Provide immediate and regular feedback to supervisor.
  • Provide clear and direct leader’s intent.
  • Establish a work schedule and ensure accurate timekeeping.
  • Accept full responsibility for section performance.
  • Establish and communicate objectives, priorities, work assignments, and performance expectations.
  • Delegate duties to staff as needed.
  • Establish and maintain appropriate span of control.
  • Develop and implement contingency plans.
  • Ensure applicable incident objectives are met.
  • Monitor performance and provide immediate and regular feedback to assigned personnel and supervisor.
  • Complete incident performance evaluations and evaluate task books.
  • Perform supervisory tasks in accordance with policy and guidance.
  • Create an effective command climate.
  • Develop and/or lead functional units/sections.
  • Hold staff individually accountable for decisions and actions, and for interactions, and coordination with other functional areas.
  • Evaluate resource status and tactical needs continually to determine if resource assignments are appropriate.
  • Interface with PIO/PAOs from other agencies and jurisdictions to ensure the release of accurate information.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of incident business management practices.
  • Coordinate with Human Resource Specialist (HRSP) or designee to address human resource issues and concerns.

Perform Command and General (C&G) Staff Responsibilities

  • Establish cohesiveness with all C&G Staff personnel.
  • Represent the information function at C&G, planning, and other key meetings; attend briefing and participate in production and approval of the plan.
  • Determine roles and responsibilities with agency personnel, partners, and stakeholders. Clarify these as needed.
  • Work with C&G staff to determine roles/responsibilities for elected officials, stakeholders, and cooperators.
  • Establish and maintain positive relationships with media and stakeholders.
  • Develop information action points that correspond to changing incident needs.
  • Recognize jurisdictional boundaries and which authorities/agencies should be involved; coordinate activities appropriately.
  • Participate in IMT in-brief and closeout.
  • Establish, plan for, and coordinate incident within an incident activities.
  • Participate in a strategic approach to team decision making.
  • Establish and maintain PIO roster and pre-order.

Perform Public Information Officer-Specific Duties

  • Provide current, accurate, and complete information to appropriate audiences.
  • Communicate incident objectives.
  • Use Incident Command System (ICS) terminology, organization, and command structure.
  • Stay apprised of technology and communication advancements.
  • Use designated protocols for communicating with incident personnel.
  • Establish and maintain positive interpersonal and interagency relationships.
  • Follow supervisor’s direction regarding the dissemination of information through appropriate channels.
  • Use effective written and verbal communication skills for a variety of audiences.
  • Use ICS forms and procedures.
  • Apply knowledge of fuels, terrain, weather, and fire behavior to communication techniques.
  • Follow standard operating procedures.
  • Ensure proper refurbishing and resupply of equipment, vehicles, food, water, and supplies.
  • Ensure public is aware of incident specific hazards and safety procedures.
  • Identify and/or investigate rumors and take appropriate action as directed.
  • Check in/check out with appropriate incident staff on traplines, media escorts, etc. 
  • Use appropriate tools, communication devices, and equipment to complete job duties.
  • Inform IMT members of any potential issues involving the general public, news media, or other sources.
  • Ensure information function is adequately staffed with qualified resources.
  • Develop a communication strategy (audiences, key messages, tactics); implement accordingly.
  • Establish, evaluate, and adjust outreach strategies to meet diverse audience and demographic needs.
  • Establish accountability and contact procedures for assigned resources during incident travel and when off-duty.
  • Determine supervisor’s expectations regarding the dissemination of information and establish expectations for subordinates.
  • Obtain copies of pertinent incident documents (Wildland Fire Decision Support System [WFDSS], delegation of authority, agency documents, etc.). Assure compliance and understanding for subordinates.
  • Submit orders for personnel and supplies to meet immediate and long-term needs.
  • Coordinate with local unit and/or incoming staff for transition needs.
  • Identify and/or investigate rumors and take appropriate actions.
  • Conduct and/or supervise interviews, press conferences, and manage media access.
  • Conduct public meetings as appropriate.
  • Assume the role of information lead for special situations.
  • Establish and supervise the information center and daily schedule.
  • Establish a system for maintaining incident contacts.
  • Apply laws, policy, and procedures for the represented jurisdiction(s).
  • Conduct unit/section briefings on a regular basis, covering incident updates, and staff assignments.
  • Supervise and plan for effective community relations in coordination with local jurisdiction(s).
  • Anticipate and create strategies to address issues and concerns, assessing social, political, economic, and cultural factors.

Communicate and Coordinate

  • Ensure clear understanding of expectations and timely communication within and across ICS functional areas and chain of command.
  • Clarify assigned tasks and deadlines.
  • Identify and emphasize group goals.
  • Establish and follow processes and chain of command for collecting, producing, and distributing information.
  • Communicate updated intelligence throughout the operational period to subordinates.
  • Ensure continuity of duties when changing roles, including potential resource needs and incident complexities.
  • Report any changes in information strategy/situation.
  • Communicate and coordinate with appropriate legislative affairs and agency/organizational representatives to meet the social, political, economic, and cultural factors of the evolving incident.

Manage Risk

  • Know your skill level and limitations.
  • Apply the Risk Management Process as stated in the  NWCG Incident Response Pocket Guide (IRPG), PMS 461:
    • Identify hazards.
    • Assess hazards.
    • Develop controls and make risk decisions.
    • Implement controls.
    • Supervise and evaluate.
  • Report all accidents or injuries to supervisor.
  • Ensure Lookouts, Communications, Escape Routes, and Safety Zones (LCES) are identified before they are needed. Refer to guidelines stated in the IRPG.
  • Apply the Standard Firefighting Orders and Watch Out Situations to your assignment, as stated in the IRPG.
  • Use Look Up, Down and Around in the IRPG to help maintain situational awareness. Adjust actions accordingly.
  • Ensure compliance with all safety practices and procedures.
  • Account for health, safety, and welfare for self and those around you.
  • Ensure work/rest guidelines are met.
  • Use and maintain Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).


  • Complete, and route as required:
  • Maintain and/or assist in maintaining incident documentation specific to the information section of the incident.
  • Establish protocols for incident documentation.


  • Submit a transition plan and other closeout documentation for incoming IMT or staff, planning for increasing/decreasing complexity.
  • Plan for demobilization. Prepare demobilization schedule and communicate with supervisor and subordinates.
  • Breakdown and return equipment and supplies to appropriate unit.
  • Complete demobilization checkout process before being released from the incident.
  • Report status to home unit including reassignment or estimated time of arrival (ETA) to home unit.


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