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Fairfax County (VA) Fire and Rescue
Fairfax County (VA) Fire and Rescue

PS Information Officer III


Full Time


Fairfax, VA
March 2, 2023
$72,190.56 - $120,316.98
February 17, 2023

Job Description

Job Announcement

Works as an experienced and dedicated public safety information/media relations professional with the Public Information Office. Some duties include:

  • Creates, coordinates, and implements internal and external communications strategies for the fire and rescue department.
  • Manages social media platforms to include developing and creating content and communications plans.
  • Acts as a visual storyteller to create short videos that educate the public about the department, its people, and initiatives.
  • Assist in community outreach and departmental events through logistics and communications planning.
  • Drafts, review or edits departmental publications and communications, including a quarterly newsletter and annual report.
  • Maintains department blog and assists with website design and content.
  • Assists in event planning from concept to implementation.
  • This position is subject to be on-call 24 hours and must be willing to work occasionally work non-traditional hours, off-hours, and during afterhours emergency incidents/situations.
  • Proactively identifies new tools, best practices, and technology trends in the communications field.
  • Responds to emergency incidents and operates in a PIO capacity.
  • Acts as spokesperson for the department before local and regional media representatives, ensuring a thorough understanding of department activities, policies, and practices.
  • Provides accurate and timely information during emergency incidents via social media and media outlets.

Illustrative Duties

(The illustrative duties listed in this specification are representative of the class but are not an all-inclusive list. A complete list of position duties and unique physical requirements can be found in the position job description.)  

  • Serves on 24-hour call, with responsibility for notifying County officials of significant incidents;
  • Makes decisions under pressure and deadlines regarding information that may be released to the media;
  • Coordinates and provides information regarding emergency incidents and other sensitive matters to the news media;
  • Acts as official County spokesperson before representatives of print and/or broadcast media, handling the more sensitive and/or controversial issues;
  • Plans, directs, and executes publicity campaigns designed to inform citizens about various county programs, events, or legislation;
  • Supervises the work of subordinates engaged, in public information activities;
  • Establishes and maintains effective working relationships with members of the media;
  • Responds to requests for information regarding agency/County programs;
  • Provides assistance to agency/County staff as to the most effective means of communicating information to the general public, government employees, and other target groups;
  • Supervises the office administration function that includes purchasing, personnel, and
  • administrative reporting and budget preparation;
  • May interact directly with the Board of Supervisors and County Executive's Office on behalf of the department.

Required Knowledge Skills and Abilities

(The knowledge, skills and abilities listed in this specification are representative of the class but are not an-all-inclusive list.)  

  • Knowledge of public safety area of expertise:
  • fire and safety, police, public health, emergency management;
  • Detailed knowledge of the requirements of the media regarding content, format, and timing of official releases;
  • Broad knowledge of the principles of public administration and public relations as applied to public safety issues and local government operations;
  • Knowledge of new media and its applications;
  • Knowledge of the department and operation of the County government and its departments and agencies;
  • Ability to plan and execute photographic coverage of complex events;
  • Ability to adapt broadly defined policy guidance to specific situations with a minimal amount of supervision;
  • Ability to work under pressure;
  • Ability to participate in meaningful interchange of views on matters of critical importance to the County;
  • Ability to plan and review the work of others;
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective relationships with the public, the press, and County employees;
  • Ability to speak extemporaneously on a broad variety of County-related issues and occurrences;
  • Ability to develop and maintain effective working relationships with County government officials and representatives of the media.

Employment Standards


Any combination of education, experience, and training equivalent to the following: (Click on the aforementioned link to learn how Fairfax County interprets equivalencies for “Any combination, experience, and training equivalent to”)

Bachelor's degree in communication, journalism, public relations or related field or field of public safety specialization (fire, police, health, safety), plus at least 6 years of progressively responsible experience in supervision which includes 3 years as a media or communications professional or first responder communicator to include two years of social media experience.


  • Knowledge and experience working in a public safety and public affairs capacity.
  • Experience managing various social media platforms.
  • Experience working with local and/or national media outlets.
  • Ability to build team-based, collaborative relationships.
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively with internal and external customers at all levels.
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills.
  • Critical thinking and problem solving.
  • Experience filming and editing video.
  • Experience in graphic design or using graphic design platforms, such as Canva.
  • Creativity and motivation to move the department’s communications strategies forward.
  • Proficiency also in video editing apps like iMovie, Canva and Adobe.
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite applications.


Driver's License (Required)

NECESSARY SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS: The appointee to this position will be required to complete a criminal background check, driving record check, and sanctions screening to the satisfaction of the employer.  

All newly hired employees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (two weeks after the last required dose) as a condition of employment or obtain approval of a medical or religious exemption prior to their start date. Proof of an exemption or vaccination status will be required during the pre-employment onboarding process. New employees who obtain an exemption from the vaccine mandate for medical or sincerely held religious beliefs may be subject to a weekly testing requirement. Vaccinated employees and employees with a medical or religious exemption will complete the attestation online on their first day of employment or shortly thereafter.


Visual acuity; manual dexterity to operate keyboard driven equipment; ability to stand and sit for lengthy periods on a frequent basis; ability to drive off site of reporting location; ability to lift up to 25 lbs. infrequently; ability to communicate verbally via phone and in person. All duties may be performed with or without reasonable accommodations.


Panel interview; may include exercise.

The population of Fairfax County is very diverse where 39.8% of residents speak a language other than English at home (Spanish, Asian/Pacific Islander, Indo-European, and others) and we encourage candidates bilingual in English and a foreign language to apply to this opportunity.

Fairfax County Government prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, age, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetics, political affiliation, or military status in the recruitment, selection, and hiring of its workforce.

Reasonable accommodations are available to persons with disabilities during application and/or interview processes per the Americans with Disabilities Act. Contact 703-324-4900 for assistance. TTY 703-222-7314. EEO/AA/TTY.  

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