Tips for PIOs: Juice

philly_collapse_AP13060513697_620x350A couple of weeks ago, I had the distinct pleasure and honor of hosting PIO Marcus Deyerin’s personal after-action from the Skagit Bridge Collapse. Marcus’s very first “Quick Tip to Remember” dealt with power:

Back-up power was critical. I’ve carried around a NewTrent 12KmAh backup charger in my PIO bag for several months, and used it a couple times prior, but this is the first time it seriously saved my bacon. I recharged my phone from near dead 3 times over the course of my involvement during the response. It’s worth every penny. [There are certainly other brands/models out there – this is just the one I have]

I loved this tip, because I carry something similar around and it has come in handy more times than I can count. Saved my bacon is exactly right. I wanted to call more attention to this excellent tip, but it stood very well with the rest of Marcus’s posts.

Yesterday, though, in the aftermath of a devastating tragedy in Philly, it became an issue again. Yesterday morning, a building being demolished collapsed unexpectedly into an occupied building. Thirteen people were rescued and, as of my writing this, at least two were found dead.

(As an aside, I ran my Health Department’s social media presence during the rescue and recovery operations–from the Raleigh-Durham airport–using nothing more than my personal phone, a Geofeedia search, and my personal Twitter media lists.)

Yesterday evening, as I continued to monitor the situation, I saw the first confirmation on Twitter of what sounded an awful lot like a body being found.

I headed over to the reporter’s Twitter feed to see if I could learn more and saw this tweet sent just minutes later:

She had a scoop and was rapidly losing juice, losing power in her phone. If only she’d seen Marcus’s quick tip about having a battery back-up.

I think eventually she found power because she continued posting for several more hours, offering detailed descriptions of what ultimately was a recovery mission.

My tip to you–whoever you are working in communications, public information, reputation management, social media, public relations–is this: buy one of these battery packs for your phone (Lifehacker recently did a best five comparison of them, so if you want to shop around, do so) and carry it with you at all times. You never know when you’ll need more juice.

(Personal note: This is a terrible, tragic situation. I go to bed tonight with a heavy heart. I knew that Salvation Army and had shopped there more than a few times. I know the good work that the people there did. Today was hard, and my only hope is that my work helped someone somewhere cope, comprehend or just see the valiant efforts of Philly’s finest and bravest.)

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