Fire EMS Liaison and PIO Tina Adams looks to make Longboat's emergency services more accessible to the public and the news media.
Longboat Key emergency services now has a designated public information officer, and she’s a familiar face around the island.
Tina Adams’ official title is Fire EMS Liaison and PIO, a long moniker that still doesn’t totally encompass her role. Being in charge of public information has always been in her job description, but in recent months the responsibility has become more prominent and well-defined.
According to Adams and Fire Chief Paul Dezzi, she has attended classes and meetings for information officers, and the public-facing aspect of her job has picked up as well.
“I'm trying to make myself seen more in public as we go on, especially during season time,” Adams said. “The fire department, we're big into the hands-only CPR, and now we've just started Stop The Bleed. I'm one of the instructors for Stop The Bleed. We get a lot of residents that go through those kinds of courses, and they're free to the residents.”
Hands-only CPR are workshops hosted by the fire department in which citizens can learn how to perform CPR. Stop The Bleed “is a national awareness campaign … intended to cultivate grassroots efforts that encourage bystanders to become trained, equipped, and empowered to help in a bleeding emergency before professional help arrives” according to ems.gov.
Dezzi and Adams also said she will be on-scene for the police and fire departments and handling calls from news media more often than in the past. That doesn’t mean she will always be the person talking to the media on camera or commenting on a situation, “But I'll be out there on scenes, making sure that if media does arrive, we get that media contact point, and that I get that information out to the public,” Adams said.
"I love just being able to help everybody." – Tina Adams
Aside from handling “whatever the chief assigns” her, Stop The Bleed, public information and being involved in hands-only CPR, Adams takes care of office administrative duties.
Dezzi said Adams’ new engagements are “above and beyond.”
“She still gets all her other work done,” he said.” In the middle of the night she’ll answer the phone, she’ll be like, ‘Do you need me to respond?’ And she has three kids she takes care of, but she's able to do it all, and she's able to juggle it. Never has she said ‘no’ or been late. I mean, she’s impressive. We’re very happy she was willing to take this on.”
This December will mark Adams’ 20th year with the town of Longboat Key. She started in the police department as a dispatcher. During the last several years she did more work with statistics and added communications supervisor to her repertoire. Then she took an open position at the fire department.
“I've always enjoyed fire as well, as a volunteer firefighter,” Adams said. “I started my career over at Sarasota Sheriff's Department, dispatching there, and I was a volunteer firefighter with them and became an EMT. So when this position came open, it was a transfer that was happily made.”
Adams didn’t always know she wanted to work in emergency services. As a young woman, she was working at a bank and going to college, and it wasn’t exactly fulfilling. Her roommate at the time had worked as a communications supervisor at a sheriff’s department, and she suggested that Adams think about doing the same because of the good pay and benefits.
“I didn't even know if I'd like it,” Adams said. “I gave it a shot, and right away I fell in love with it. It's just something that I enjoy doing. And I love just being able to help everybody.”