National Wildfire Coordinating Group

Public Information Officer, Technician

PIOT decorative banner: photos depicting PIOT position.

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PIOT Incident Position Description

The Public Information Officer, Technician (PIOT) participates in the collection and dissemination of incident information and may be the first public point of contact. The PIOT may be assigned to information center operations, community engagement, media relations, or other branches. On a Type 1, 2, or 3 incident, the PIOT reports to the lead Public Information Officer (PIO) as part of the Command Staff. On a Type 4 or 5 incident, the PIOT may work for the public affairs office, Agency Administrator (AA), or Incident Commander (IC). The PIOT works in the Command functional area.
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Leadership Level 1, Follower (Provide Action)

  • For additional information review Level 1 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 public affairs regarding status of incident situation or branch operations.

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.

Perform Public Information Officer-Specific Duties

  • Provide current, accurate, and timely 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 (SOPs).
  • Ensure proper refurbishing and resupply of equipment, vehicles, food, water, and supplies.
  • Ensure public is aware of incident-specific hazards and safety procedures.
  • Conduct media interviews as assigned.
  • Identify and/or investigate rumors and take appropriate action as directed.
  • Check in/check out with appropriate incident staff on traplines, media escorts, etc.
  • Assist with special situations as directed (incident within an incident).
  • Use appropriate tools, communication devices, and equipment to complete job duties.
  • Assist with effective community relations in coordination with local jurisdiction.
  • Maintain contact lists.
  • Support public meetings as appropriate.

Communicate and Coordinate

  • Obtain and support group goals.
  • Follow processes and chain of command for collecting, producing, and distributing information.
  • Ensure continuity of duties when changing roles.
  • Ensure clear understanding of expectations and timely communication within and across ICS functional areas and chain of command.
  • Provide and receive updated intelligence throughout the operational period.
  • Clarify assigned tasks and deadlines.

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 maintain situational awareness. Adjust actions accordingly.
  • Comply with all safety practices and procedures.
  • Account for health, safety, and welfare for self and those around you.
  • Follow work/rest guidelines.
  • Use and maintain Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).


  • Complete and route as required:
  • Maintain and/or assist in maintaining incident documentation specific to the information function of the incident


  • Plan for demobilization. Receive and follow demobilization instructions from the supervisor.
  • Break down 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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