Oct 13, 2009
In the world of public safety, clear and effective communication is an indispensable skill set. As any firefighter or EMT will tell you, when time is of the essence and lives are hanging in the balance, there is no room for confusion. This same principle that is true during an on-the-ground emergency rescue also applies to the corporations, organizations and associations that create the nation’s public safety infrastructure. At DKC, we have worked across virtually every corner of this field, building and executing communications plans that connect our clients to the general public, partners and other stakeholders.
The team at DKC is distinguished by its extensive experience, led by Robert Leonard, a veteran of over 20 years in the public safety sphere, and to this day, a volunteer fire fighter in his spare time. His career has taken him from the public sector, serving as Deputy Director of Public Information for the FDNY and Public Information Officer for the New York City EMS, to the private sector, including a stint directing media relations for Con Edison and for the last nine years at DKC. Under his leadership, DKC has built a staff of experts that is in constant communication with the firefighters, EMTs, equipment manufacturers and industry officials that collectively form the heartbeat of the public safety domain.
Our deep knowledge of the issues allows us to work with a diverse range of clients across the public safety landscape, and on campaigns both national and regional in scope. On a national scale, DKC worked with Anbex, a company producing Potassium Iodide pills that had been proven to protect against thyroid cancer in the case of a nuclear accident or incident. DKC secured prominent coverage for the benefits of Anbex in the states with nuclear reactors, which led to a larger national discussion, challenging states that had chosen not to distribute the pill that would protect its residents.
Regionally, DKC helps the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY), which represents 130,000 volunteer firefighters and EMS workers across the state, to impact public safety through targeted, strategic media campaigns. Through our efforts, FASNY has made its voice heard on the op-ed and editorial pages of all the major media outlets in the state, stretching from New York City to Albany to Buffalo and all key points in between. This coverage has resulted in increased attention to fire prevention and has helped FASNY’s efforts to increase its membership.
In addition to a traditional approach to public relations, we connect our public safety clients to the public at large by leveraging the firm’s relationships across a wide variety of industries. DKC built a substantial audience for the Nassau County Firefighters Museum and Education Center on Long Island, New York by connecting the institution with supermarket chain Fairway. Firefighters competed in a barbecue cook-off sponsored by Fairway that benefited the museum, educated attendees about barbecue safety, and drove traffic into the store. When Rheingold Brewing Company wanted to reintroduce its product to firefighters, we helped to create a ”Hometown Hero of the Month” program that recognized firefighters on Long Island, one of the most populous regions of volunteer firefighters in the country. Through our relationships with consumer brands, we provide public safety institutions with access to a wide cross-section of the public.
It is also well-established that public safety entities must be extra vigilant about their reputations given the inherent occupational hazards. When the unexpected does happen, DKC is ready to provide crisis support that contains the damage and restores public trust. Following the September 11 attacks, DKC worked with a major telecommunications company to successfully rebut false information that had surfaced regarding the failure of its communications devices in the midst of the rescue effort. We were also brought in by one of the nation’s leading suppliers of fire apparatus to handle crisis communications and provide strategic counsel following a series of issues with their newest deliveries to one of the largest urban fire departments in the U.S. Thanks to our efforts repositioning the company in that market, the fire truck manufacturer went on to win the next several contracts for fire engines and ladder trucks in that city.
An effective communications strategy enhances the ability for any corporation or organization within the public safety domain to reach its goals. If you’re looking for assistance in this area, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.