North Yorkshire FRS, Media Training
When North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (NYFRS) attended three major fires in spring 2010, officers in charge at the scene were more than prepared for tricky broadcast interviews – they had taken part in media training with Unique just a few weeks previously.
NYFRS covers a large and diverse area, with potential for major incidents coming from the coastline, historic cities and towns such as Scarborough, York and Harrogate, rivers and major trunk roads.
Dozens of print and broadcast media outlets operate in the area and are often quick to the scene of major incidents, requiring on-the-spot commentary. There is also a need for pro-active media relations – the service has a calendar of campaigns to support, from chip pan fires to safe caravan towing. And there are occasional ‘political’ issues, such as changes to services.
Richard Henry, the service’s communications and media officer, wanted to prepare 15 colleagues for media interviews, from Group Managers likely to be in charge at major incidents to Station Mangers delivering key safety messages to local media.
What Unique Delivered
Unique developed three one day training courses for NYFRS based on a set of scenarios which spanned a full gamut of potential media interest. These scenarios provided a foundation for various types of media interviews including press, radio discussion panel and down-the-line TV.
The trainers, ex-BBC journalists Kevin Bouquet and David Wiggins, led delegates through a day designed to build confidence and the ability to handle the media in all types of situations.
Feedback from the participants was extremely positive. Typical comments included: “In the early part of the day the pressure was on, and I was nervous. But as we got plenty of chances to ‘have a go’ it got easier and by the end of it I was actually looking forward to the opportunity to put everything I’d learned into practice.”
Richard Henry said: “We have had three large fires lately where I’ve called upon officers with the media training to be press liaison at the scene, for example the Majestic Hotel Fire in Harrogate.
“The officer in charge – who had attended the first of the three Unique courses - did a superb job with interviews on radio and on TV. All delegates responded very positively to the training and expressed much greater confidence with dealing day-to-day with press/media issues.”