Chesco’s Amer completes FEMA Master Public Information Officer Program

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On Left: Michael J. Sharon, FEMA Emergency Management Institute Deputy Superintendent
On Right: Amy Amer

WEST CHESTER — Completing a year-long professional development program, Amy Kate Amer, Community Outreach Coordinator for Chester County Department of Emergency Services joins less than 70 others across the U.S. and the only one in Pennsylvania, as a recognized Master Public Information Officer (MPIO).

Established by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in 2017, the MPIO program is a three-course series to prepare senior level public information officers for an expanded role in delivering public information and warning using a strategic, whole community approach. It is the Department of Homeland Security’s highest level of training and credentialing for public information professionals.

“The Master PIO Course is the pinnacle of our training for emergency public information professionals,” said FEMA Emergency Management Institute Deputy Superintendent Michael J. Sharon. “It solidifies the skills they learned in our Basic and Advanced PIO courses to build seasoned communicators who are ready in times of crisis.”

“Amy’s completion of this communications leadership program and her innovative approach to sharing department information allows us to strengthen our efforts to keep the public informed about our programs.” Stated Mike Murphy, Director, Chester County Department of Emergency Services.

The program reinforces the qualities needed to lead whole community public information/external affairs programs, provides relevant management theories and concepts and uses case studies to enhance public information/external affairs skill sets.

MPIO program participants work within a collaborative environment on projects with an established network of peers. Participants contribute to the body of knowledge for emergency management through evaluation of leadership, group dynamics and functional best practices of joint information centers (JICs) and by conducting peer-reviewed research resulting in a paper published by the National Emergency Training Center Library at the U.S. Fire Administration.

As the Community Outreach Coordinator, Amy serves as one of two department public information officers, oversees the public education program and social media platforms. Before becoming the Community Outreach Coordinator in 2014, Amy served as the Executive Assistant to the Director of Emergency Services. She has been employed with Chester County since 1997.

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