The Public Information Section is unique in both structure and function within the department. The department public information officer (PIO), who holds the rank of Captain, reports directly to the Fire Chief, also works directly with every section in the department. A part-time Public Education Coordinator assists in achieving the fire department’s proactive public education objectives to communicate fire safety awareness throughout the county.
The primary responsibility of the PIO is to communicate the efforts of the department to the eyes and ears of the citizens of the county. At emergencies, the PIO manages media needs by providing complete, accurate and timely information.
This department pursues, cultivates, and encourages news media relations with the philosophy that news-gathering agencies perform a vital public service in providing information that the public has a right to know.
The term “Code 20” is a radio designation indicating that an incident is potentially newsworthy, arouses public interest, or cause public impact. A Code 20 alerts the media via text message and advises them of the nature, location, call-time, and any other significant facts about an incident.
The News Line (805) 681-5546 consists of a recorded message concerning the department and its activities in relation to emergency incidents. Members of the news media have been given the News Line number to acquire information 24 hours a day. Up to 25 calls can simultaneously access the system and receive a message. The PIO will record a short news message regarding the Fire Department’s activities when a code 20 is called. The News Line will be updated whenever possible and can be used to convey other messages, such as public education, public service announcements, control burn information, and special information about department activities.
General Information: (805) 681-5500
Public Information Officer: (805) 681-5531
News Line: (805) 681-5546
Facebook: Santa Barbara County Fire Department