News Reporters Receive Training on Covering WildfiresPosted: Updated:
Kennewick -- One of the most dangerous things a news reporter can cover is a wildfire. The flames are often unpredictable. A reporter can become trapped, and could die.
Firefighters also find themselves searching for reporters who either stray into the danger zone or do not report to the command center before heading for the flames. What that means is that that firefighter is no longer battling the blaze.
Now Benton County Emergency crews are training reporters how to cover wildfires, and how to respect not only the firefighters, but the fire itself. News people learned Wednesday about getting information safely, checking into command centers, and how to dress properly in order to cover a fire.
The class was attended by approximately ten news people, including two reporters and one photographer from KNDU Television. One reporter, Melanie Falcon commented on the two sides a reporter must face when dealing with the big fire story:
"You get a rush from being at the scene and watching the firefighters put their heart and soul into putting the fire out, and you're there trying to cover the fire and also be safe and stay out of the fire."
Steve Sautter with Benton County Emergency Services had something to say about the repurcussions of unwise reporting.
"I've seen pictures from California of really nice satellite trucks that were parked in the wrong place. The people got out, but the million dollar truck was burned to a crisp."
Reporters at the training session learned to report first to the command center. They also got some ideas on what they must wear: closed toed shoes, long pants or jeans and even a baseball cap to keep hair from flying when covering the story.
Benton County Emergency Services offers the training annually.