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City of Idaho Falls News

Posted on: July 5, 2023

Idaho Falls PIO Kerry Hammon receives prestigious credential

Kerry Hammon for press release

IDAHO FALLS – Idaho Falls Fire Department Public Information Officer (PIO) Kerry Hammon has received a prestigious national designation through the Center for Public Safety Excellence (CPSE) for her work and expertise as a Public Information Officer.

Hammon is one of only 29 PIOs in the United States and the first in Idaho to receive the CPSE credential, which considers broad professional accomplishments and recognizes lifelong career excellence and achievement. The new credential created in 2022 also provides recognition of the importance of PIOs as a part of both emergency and daily operations in communicating valuable information to the public.

“Kerry is a vital part of the IFFD administration management team,” said Idaho Falls Fire Chief Duane Nelson. “Not only has she served our community locally in times of need, but she has also assisted in larger scale disasters where she has proven herself as an asset and skilled PIO locally, regionally and nationally.” 

Hammon joined the City of Idaho Falls in 2013 as the city’s first designated Public Information Officer. In 2017, Hammon transitioned to be the Idaho Falls Fire Department’s and Public Works Department’s full-time PIO. As a PIO, Hammon focuses on “getting the right information to the right people at the right time” in both emergent and nonemergent situations. 

As a PIO, Hammon acts as the media representative for her departments, sharing important information with the media and public, and works to develop and execute communication strategies for IFFD and Idaho Falls Public Works. This includes social media management, graphic design, and the utilization of other communication tools to keep stakeholders and the community informed about a variety of topics, from fire incidents to road construction. Hammon’s role involves a variety of other duties and responsibilities, including community engagement and education efforts.

Hammon obtained an Advanced PIO certification from FEMA in 2018 and has earned several other Incident Management certifications over her career related to the PIO profession. She serves as a PIO on Southeast Idaho's Type 3 Incident Management Team and served in that capacity during the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse and flooding in Minidoka County, also in 2017. In 2018, she was deployed to Bay County, Florida, for two weeks to work in their emergency operations center following Hurricane Michael, a Category 5 hurricane. Hammon has served as a PIO instructor for the Idaho Office of Emergency Management and currently volunteers as the Communications Chair for the Governor’s EMS Sustainability Task Force. 

The Center for Public Safety Excellence (CPSE) is a not-for-profit 501(c) (3) corporation, that helps high-performing fire departments and emergency services professionals in their efforts to continuously improve, including offering specialty credentialling for fire and emergency services professionals. 

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