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Southern League teams up with RIAFC to host PIO Training Program
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By Secretary Christopher Koretski
January 26, 2024

The Rhode Island Southern Firefighters League teamed up with the Rhode Island Association of Fire Chiefs to host a public information officer class on Thursday January 25 at the Rhode Island Fire Academy. Chief Rob Reardon of the Duxbury Fire Department joined Betty-Jo Cugini of Weathervane Communications for the program. Over 75 members of the Rhode Island fire service joined for the program that was offered at Noon and 6:30 pm.

Chief Reardon is a familiar face in teaching social media and media relations for the firefighter. He previously worked for several TV news stations before he became a firefighter in Duxbury as a career. He teaches media programs at FDIC, Firehouse Expo, and other local conferences. He has spoken on social media in Rhode Island several times including for the League, Fire Marshals Association, and Fire Chiefs. He is now the Chief of Department in Duxbury.

Betty-Jo Cugini is the mother of a local fire chief officer and the granddaughter of Chief G. Byron Champlin, the first fire chief of the Ashaway Fire Department. She worked for 25 years at WJAR NBC-10, retiring as the Vice President of News and News Director. She has received several Emmy awards, an Edward R. Morrow award, a Silver Circle, and is the 2023 Ocean Community Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year. She currently works at the University of Rhode Island as the Supervisor of New Media.

Special thanks to Chief Reardon and Betty-Jo for enlightening our members to how better to communicate with the media and the public. The League also extends the utmost thanks to Chief Scott Kettelle, Immediate Past President of the RIAFC, Chief Bob Bradley, President of the RIAFC, Executive Director Chief Rick Susi, and Foundation President Chief John Silva for their support of the program.

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