E-18 Media, LLC
In 1918, music was carried by wireless to help wounded American boys in France recover from the hardships of war. Within 10 years, wireless would become known as radio, and the technology would change strategic communications on and off the battlefield.
Fast forward to 2018 where IAFF members live in an era of global technological change. Smart phone apps deliver voice, text and video information and personal connections. Again, strategic communications are changing because of emerging technologies.
Through the creation of E-18 Media, the IAFF and the IAFF Financial Corporation are committed to providing professional fire fighters with the tools and information they need to stand strong and stay safe on the job. E-18 Media was envisioned as a strategic resource to provide a level of content and service that reflects the professionalism of IAFF members which might otherwise not be accessible because of the cost or response time.
In short, hailing back to the founders of IAFF, their rallying cry, “Progress Through Unity,” is supported through the efforts of E-18 Media, all without an investment of member dues.
Initially, E-18 Media built a platform to deliver the promise of ideas, coordinating efforts with each IAFF department through the division of Media and Communications. The tools used to launch creative solutions include: a multi-use video studio and control room, an audio recording booth, field recording and webcast capability, post-production graphics, design and editing suites and a seasoned crew of award-winning creative talent to make it possible. Social media is a powerful and worthwhile way to get the fire fighter’s message out and have neighbors listen to our voices because the opinions of IAFF members are respected.
Since the last IAFF convention E-18 Media has customized public service messages for IAFF locals and affiliates to promote safety and expand community awareness about the IAFF brand. These include social media spots on smoke detectors, turkey-fryer safety, holiday decorations, distracted driving, fireworks, Memorial Day and Veterans/Remembrance Day.
Today, IAFF members find themselves in a daily battle for their careers given the demands for safety, healthcare, retirement security, decent pay and basic needs to raise a family. Content delivery to IAFF locals and affiliates has ramped-up in the last two years, especially to bring victories in the public arena. Dozens of issue and candidate spots were produced highlighting where the IAFF and IAFF locals are involved in Fighting Back campaigns or where an IAFF endorsement is recognized and sought. These include online and broadcast spots for EMS ballot propositions, public safety millage, fire district referendums, staffing initiatives, wildland fire fighter funding and pension battles. From Portland, Maine to Clark County, Washington; in British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario; throughout the heartland of Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, Kansas and across the south in Florida, Oklahoma, Texas, Georgia, and Louisiana, members in all the IAFF’s 16 Districts benefited from the use of E-18-created media.
IAFF members in the State of New York faced a particularly challenging battle with the call to vote for or against a new state constitutional convention. Passage of the ballot measure would have opened the doors to re-writing many state labor law protections and possibly dissolving pension obligations already earned by professional fire fighters. Working with the IAFF Division of Governmental Affairs and Public Policy, E-18 began a series of targeted educational spots to provide members with talking points based upon interviews from fellow fire fighters. In turn members shared these ideas with family and neighbors. While initial polling suggested a close decision, ultimately voters rejected the ballot measure by more than 75 percent.
To promote increased participation in state and local political action committees, E-18 created another project with the governmental affairs division. Called Triple Play, the program will be introduced through state and provincial affiliates.
Fire Ops 101 is a successful program of the division of Education and Human Relations that brings IAFF members together with elected officials. It is especially effective when staged during the United States Conference of Mayors or a regional meeting of legislators such as the Council of State Governments. E-18 produces a pre-conference video with organization leaders to support registration for and promotion of the event. Our crew covers the live Feel-the-Heat evolutions and returns a sponsored promotion on a theme of progressive labor–management relations. Elected officials walk away from the experience by giving a ‘thumbs-up’ to a greater understanding of what IAFF members encounter on the job each day. Recent productions featured IAFF Local 798 and Boston Fire, IAFF Local 1510 and Miami Beach Fire Rescue and IAFF Local 4, Iowa State Professional Fire Fighters and the Des Moines Fire Department.
E-18 Media plays a key role in creating the environment and programming for IAFF conferences, meetings, special events and the convention. The production team also directs many of the technical aspects of the program continuity and streams live video portions of the events on the IAFF web site or the IAFF Facebook page. The last two years have seen an expanding use of this tool to connect with members.
A typical E-18 production calendar begins in January with the Vincent J. Bollon Affiliate Leadership Training Summit (ALTS) and the Ernest A. “Buddy” Mass Human Relations Conference. This year E-18 produced the screen graphics and a 100th anniversary theme introduction video in addition to streaming video of the plenary speakers and recording designated workshops. E-18 crew taught two sessions in video production and interviewed attendees for the IAFF Financial Corps and the IAFF Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health, Treatment and Recovery. Two Facebook Live events were produced. The first one featured General President Harold Schaitberger in conjunction with Fire Engineering magazine on fire fighter cancer and another with General Secretary-Treasurer Edward Kelly on the IAFF SMART software platform.
Following the 2018 ALTS/HR Conference, two special events were held in February. On February 1, the IAFF Cancer Summit brought together researchers and experts with the latest information on fire fighter cancer. An open stage format connected presenters with the audience. The sessions continue to be available on the IAFF’s YouTube channel. February 28, 2018 marked the IAFF’s 100th anniversary. E-18 was there to host a live webcast with a roll call of the original IAFF locals at the exact location where the first convention delegates stood to take a memorial photograph. Both webcasts were viewed by thousands of IAFF members at their stations and union halls.
In March E-18 Media provided graphics, direction and streaming for the Alfred K. Whitehead IAFF Legislative Conference. A crew accompanied attendees who went to Capitol Hill to meet with their members of Congress and discuss legislative issues.
The summer months are traditionally the scheduled time for both the Redmond Symposium/Barbera EMS Conference and IAFF Convention. In 2017, the E-18 crew travelled to Vancouver following months of preparing for the upcoming show. In addition to the opening video and a live streamed address from the IAFF General President, E-18 produced several riveting videos.
Two presentations followed IAFF member responses to active shooter events. The first by IAFF local 1365 in Orlando, FL at the Pulse Nightclub and the second by IAFF local 1765 in Fort Lauderdale at the International Airport. (Note: Multiple IAFF locals responded to both events.) The information conveyed can help clarify the role of IAFF members who must respond to such events and help manage the effects responses may have on IAFF members.
Collecting usable knowledge for professionals is also the goal when the plenary sessions look at lessons learned from major incidents or tragic multiple line of duty deaths. For Vancouver, E-18 prepared video lead-ins for the horrific Ghost Ship fire in Oakland, CA, the destructive Fort McMurray wildland fire, the loss of members in IAFF Local 1590 Wilmington, DE and IAFF Local 42, Kansas City, MO.
Presentations were streamed online about the challenges of responding to Energy Storage System incidents and fire-based EMS responses to opioid abuse in North America.The E-18 crew interviewed members about opioid addiction, the response by IAFF Local 18 Vancouver, BC members and focus groups for future projects.
E-18 Media has been preparing for the 100th anniversary IAFF Convention and the IAFF Charitable Foundation Gala. This centennial includes video mapping the massive 320-foot screen with both front and rear projection to create a dynamic experience for delegates and guests throughout the hall. Video introductions, a welcome to Seattle message, moving memorials and a thematic opening for this year’s celebration and convention business are all planned. In addition to helping direct stage movements and keep the technical crew cued to each detail, the E-18 crew will assist with the coordination and staging of audio visual elements for the 100th Anniversary Gold and Black Gala Dinner.
Each September at the Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial in Colorado Springs, the IAFF adds the names of those members killed in the line of duty or those who have died from a presumptive work-related illness. E-18 helps the division of health, safety and medicine to produce the event and collaborates with local production crews to livestream and capture the entire ceremony. Footage is used to create an introductory video invitation for families and a keepsake video is made for members to share with relatives and friends.
Periodically, major events occur that require not only a quick response to help IAFF members but documentation to keep the membership informed and engaged with their sisters and brothers. This might be a hurricane in Florida or along the Gulf Coast. It could be wildland fires, a tragic attack on civilians or multiple IAFF members who were killed in the line of duty. Whatever the event may be, E-18 stands ready to assist the IAFF in telling the story and is helping those responding.
It is estimated that one in five IAFF members will experience some form of post-traumatic injury during their career. In 2017 the IAFF Center for Excellence for Behavioral Health, Treatment and Recovery opened its campus in Maryland. E-18 had begun working on this emerging issue by developing peer-to-peer training modules and interviewing IAFF members in long-term recovery to help others identify symptomatic behaviors.
E-18 produced a series of video materials for the Center of Excellence ribbon cutting ceremony as well as coverage of the event. The team produced a “Kitchen Table” with General President Schaitberger and members of the center’s medical, administrative and business staff to provide basic information and get answers to questions on how IAFF members could gain access to services. CBS News included E-18 footage of the center in their national broadcast. An E-18 crew covered the visit of Kevin Flynn, Ontario’s minister of labour, when he came to the IAFF Center and explored opportunities for IAFF Canadian members to access the facility. E-18 continues to support IAFF efforts to widen access throughout the U.S. and Canada and to highlight IAFF members’ stories of recovery.
A “Kitchen Table” was also produced in the E-18 studio to provide information and strategies to address the consequences of the historic Janus court case that may influence the way the IAFF and IAFF locals are able to represent their members. Other studio webcasts provided direct video and audio links from IAFF staff to local or affiliate meetings on topics of interest, political and legislative updates, pension issues, the new NFORS reporting systems, and how affiliates should file an IRS form 990.
E-18 produced content for the IAFF Grants Administration Department beginning with a webinar on the process for applying for FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grants. E-18 also coordinates production for hazardous materials frontline safety, the IAFF-IAFC Wellness-Fitness Initiative (WFI,) confined space rescue, NFORS and FireCARES, and the emergency response guide training in Canada.
E-18 Media works with organizations outside the IAFF. The AFL-CIO hired E-18 to provide full-service production coordination at their quadrennial convention in St. Louis. The tour included virtual set graphics, stage and event management, web streaming and location video production and editing. E-18 talent is sought in producing video and audio programs for organizations such as the Association of Flight Attendants, the Alliance for American Manufacturing, the Amalgamated Transit Union, the American Federation of School Administrators, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, the Ironworkers, the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems, the National Potato Council, the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers, the Transportation Trades Department of the AFL-CIO and the Warriors Research Institute.
These productions provide support for the growth and exploration of emergent creative technologies and additional expert capacities that keep the IAFF at the front line of strategic communications.