How information is disseminated following Nov. tornadoes

Dec 9, 2013

News agencies are still working to keep people informed about disaster recovery efforts after the November 17th tornadoes. Peoria Public Radio’s Tanya Koonce reports getting people information has been made easier with the aid of the group called Central Illinois Emergency Information.  

It’s a group of media relations people who’ve been communicating with news agencies about press briefings and other details people need to know. Brian Williamsen is the media contact for the Peoria based IDOT office. He is part of the group. Williamsen says the group exists to help any community in Central Illinois disseminate information in the aftermath of a disaster. He says that has served particularly well for a smaller community like Washington that doesn’t have a dedicated public relations staff person:  

"Our group is really standing by ready to provide that kind of information and that way, the people in the municipalities whether it's Washington, or East Peoria, or Pekin or wherever it's been, they know they can trust us because we're people who already do that kind of informational work. And so on the media side of things, you are familiar with us and it's just an opportunity to get that information out and to just help media do what they need to do, and help the folks in the municipalities focus on their residents and rebuilding their communities. 

Williamsen says their Facebook page has also been helpful, but the paper fact sheets they’ve been handing out may have served best. The Central Illinois Emergency Information group has been meeting quarterly for at least four years. It’s an outgrowth of Homeland Security best practices.