Mark Basnight

Crisis & Risk Communication Professional


Mark's bio

Strong understanding and experience related to public affairs program activities, such as coordinating news & information media interviews, developing communication plans, coordinating agency information programs, evaluating agency public affairs programs, etc.

Knowledge of emergency relationships among the government, private sector, news media and public.

Experience in effectively contributing to and managing a team effort to meet task requirements.

Skill in conducting assigned work and producing end results through self-motivated efforts including problem analysis and resolution.

Experience in evaluating impacts and effectiveness of public affairs programs.

Substantial experience in preparing analytical summaries on communications strategies & tactics and developing guidance material, correspondence, articles, bulletins, brochures, news releases, talking points, fact sheets and collateral material.

Experience in establishing and maintaining relationships with the general public, the news & information media, key officials, agency stakeholders, industry representatives, and community groups in order to communicate and disseminate program information which results in an understanding of the agency's mission and activities.

Solid background, skills and expertise in the principles, functions and standard operating procedures of emergency management including direct experience in major incident responses.

Basnight served as a Lead Public Information Officer during the 2012 Democratic National Convention and had a significant role in planning, coordinating and implementing the Joint Information Center for Charlotte-Mecklenburg. He is a founding member and past Chair for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Virtual Social Media Working Group. Mark also led the efforts to plan, coordinate and implement the marketing & advertising campaign for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Alert & Notification System "CharMeck Alerts."

Mark Basnight is a resourceful communication expert with over 8 years experience in the industry. He is accomplished at leading and managing national, regional, and tribal relations to promote knowledge, awareness, and support for multifaceted issues and programs. Mark is a nationally known communications expert who has assisted dozens of communities and organizations in preparing to effectively communicate with multiple audiences during times of crises.


Explore my professional history and get to know the companies I worked at and the roles and responsibilities I've been assigned.

2014 - Current

Risk Communication & Emergency Planning Specialist

Argonne National Laboratory

2013 - Current

Contract Instructor

FEMA Emergency Management Institute

2009 - 2014

Contract Instructor

North Carolina Department of Public Safety

2006 - 2014

Public Information Officer

Charlotte Fire Department

2006 - 2013

Health & Safety Instructor


2011 - 2012

Past President | Vice President

Department of Homeland Security Virtual Social Media Working Group

1998 - 2007


Charlotte Fire Department

2003 - 2006

Hazardous Materials Response Team | Company Officer

Charlotte Fire Department

1998 - 2000

Training Officer

Charlotte Fire Department

1994 - 1999

Assistant Men's Basketball Coach

Queens University of Charlotte

1986 - 1998


Charlotte Fire Department

1984 - 1986


Fayetteville Fire/EMS

1979 - 1983

Intelligence/Imagery Analyst

US Army

Risk Communication & Emergency Planning Specialist

Argonne National Laboratory

Responsible for assisting government agencies, non-governmental organization, and private sector groups with plans, training, exercises, and support materials relating to media and public relations before, during and after a crisis / emergency. Current research focuses on developing tools for government public information professionals utilizing existing and emerging communication technologies, developing a national model for the provision of emergency public information through a Joint Information System/Center consistent with the National Incident Management System, and developing case studies and training materials to enhance message delivery by public officials during a time of crisis.

Contract Instructor

FEMA Emergency Management Institute

Instructor Emergency Management Professional Program, APIO, E/L105 – Public Information and Warning

Serves as an adjunct instructor for the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Emergency Management Institute located in Emmitsburg, Maryland, providing week long instruction for public information officers from around the globe including materials on news conference preparation and presentation, risk and crisis communication methodology, news interview skills, joint information system/center development and application, and social media usage during times of crisis.

Public Information and Warning - This Emergency Manager Basic Academy course introduces participants to what the Public Information Officer (PIO) does in emergency management along with the basic information about the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS). The PIO topics covered include the role of the PIO; communication tools and resources encompassing social media; effective communication; preparing the community through outreach and other means; and communication in an incident. The IPAWS topics covered include what the system is and does, preparing alert and warning messages, and writing common alerting protocol messages. This is a 2-day classroom course which gives participants time to perform activities and exercises to reinforce the knowledge and build basic skills.

Contract Instructor

North Carolina Department of Public Safety

Provide instruction for FEMA G290 Basic PIO Course, FEMA G291 JIS/JIC Planning Course and FEMA G242 Effective Communications.

The Basic Public Information Officer Course (G290) is designed to prepare participants to function as full- or part-time PIOs. Additionally, this training is a prerequisite and foundation for more advanced training that takes participants from the awareness level to the mastery level in their public information careers.

The JIS/JIC Planning for Tribal, State, and Local PIOs course will use interactive presentation to convey information and engage the participants in learning. Participants will complete a number of worksheets assessing jurisdictional JIS/JIC readiness and facilitating planning for JIS/JIC implementation.

The Effective Communications course is designed to improve the participants communication skills. Being able to communicate effectively is a necessary and vital part of the job for every emergency manager, planner, and responder. The G242 course assists participants to develop and/or enhance basic communication skills.The course addresses how to communicate in an emergency, how to identify community-specific communication issues, the use of technology as a communication tool, effective oral communication and how to prepare an oral presentation.

Public Information Officer

Charlotte Fire Department

Establishes and maintains relationships with the general public, the news & information media, key officials, agency stakeholders, industry representatives, and community groups in order to communicate and disseminate program information which results in an understanding of the agency's mission and activities.

Performs work related to public affairs program activities, such as coordinating news & information media interviews, developing communication plans, coordinating agency information programs, evaluating agency public affairs programs, etc. Evaluates impacts and effectiveness of public affairs programs.

Prepares analytical summaries on communications strategies & tactics and develops guidance material, correspondence, articles, bulletins, brochures, news releases, talking points, fact sheets and collateral material.

Health & Safety Instructor


Provide basic first aid, CPR, bloodborne pathogens, and oxygen therapy instruction for staff.

Past President | Vice President

Department of Homeland Security Virtual Social Media Working Group

The DHS First Responder Communities of Practice Virtual Social Media Working Group (VSMWG) provides recommendations on the safe and sustainable use of social media technologies before, during and after emergencies. The group was organized under the direction of the Science and Technology's First Responders Technologies (R-Tech) program.

Comprised of first responders and homeland security professionals from various disciplines and government agencies across the country, the group counsels emergency preparedness, response, and homeland security communities through virtual meetings. These meetings are used to identify and discuss responder issues and challenges.

The First Responder Communities of Practice platform serves as the primary location for the VSMWG to conduct activities, share developments, and connect with other homeland security professionals regarding the value of social media for emergency preparedness, response, and recovery. The group plays an active role in establishing the Make America Safer through Social Media Community as a national resource for social media and public safety-related information and best practices.


Charlotte Fire Department

Performs a combination of supervisory and administrative work for a specific fire station. Supervisory duties include scheduling and monitoring the work activities of firefighters. Administrative duties include preparing written and electronic fire station reports.

Performs various duties in the local community and at a fire station. One common duty is informing the general public about fire safety and prevention. Additional duties include inspecting fire equipment, maintaining personnel records and assisting with the professional development of fire station employees.

Hazardous Materials Response Team | Company Officer

Charlotte Fire Department

The Haz-Mat Company Officer is responsible for managing the HAZMAT function and supervising HAZMAT Techs.

• Experience in coordinating, managing, and supervising HAZMAT response activities.

• Experience in developing a site safety plan and adhering to safety procedures.

• Experience in determining HAZMAT organizational and logistical needs.

• Experience in receiving briefings and situation reports and ensured that HAZMAT personnel
were kept informed of mission objectives and status changes.

• Experience in providing situation updates and maintaining records and reports.

• Experience in providing accountability, maintenance, and minor repairs for issued equipment.

Training Officer

Charlotte Fire Department

Performed highly skilled professional work planning, coordinating, and directing classroom orientation and specialized practical training for fire fighter recruits and fire employees; and performs other related duties as required.

Safely supervised high risk emergency training evolutions, including but not limited to: live fire training, high angle rope rescue training, confined space training, hazardous materials response training.

Evaluated emergency operations and critiques to determine Department training requirements.

Maintained accurate and reliable training records documenting mandated training according to departmental and legal standards.

Experience in training and evaluation of firefighters, recruit firefighters, and firefighter applicants.

Experience in the evaluation of new and existing equipment and conducted research for developing concepts for the Fire Department.

Experience in the maintenance of the training unit physical plant including structures, grounds and reserve department equipment.

Assigned to assist at an emergency scene as sector or safety officer.

Attended specialized training and obtained certifications and levels of competency.

Assistant Men's Basketball Coach

Queens University of Charlotte


Charlotte Fire Department

Firefighter/EMT, Hazardous Material Technician, Heavy Rescue Technician


Fayetteville Fire/EMS

Intelligence/Imagery Analyst

US Army

Analyzes current intelligence holdings to identify gaps, and subsequent intelligence collection requirements. Considers enemy Order of Battle records in the development of collection tasks and assessment of enemy vulnerabilities and probable courses of action. Assists in the preparation of reports on captured enemy material. Drafts periodic and special intelligence reports, plans, and briefings.


See where I spent time studying and gained early knowledge to prepare for my professional life.

University of Phoenix


2010 - 2012 The Associate of Arts in Communications degree program focuses on the growth and convergence of telecommunications technologies, the role of media in a democratic society, and standards of social responsibility within the culture of journalism. The concentration courses assist students develop win-win communication processes and information strategies for problem solving, while also providing an extensive review of information sources and news presentations for print, web, and broadcast delivery. Additionally, students learn to review and assess pivotal influences on the development of mass media and speculate on their future evolution.

FEMA Emergency Management Institute

Masters Public Information Officer Course

2012 - 2012 Class Length: Five-days plus pre-course and post-course Webinars Course Description: The PIO Master-Level course provides PIOs with National Incident Management Systems (NIMS) guidance, management, leadership tools, and techniques to use during disasters. It addresses larger coordination efforts needed for events requiring communication at the regional, tribal, State, and Federal levels. Participants will complete a final project research paper based on one of the activities in the course. The project should also meet the participant's interest and jurisdictional needs. Sample project topics include: - A Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Plan for the student’s jurisdiction; - A social media policy for their jurisdiction; and - A Joint Information Center (JIC) Plan for their jurisdiction

FEMA Emergency Management Institute

Advanced Public Information Officer

2009 - 2009 This advanced course builds on the foundation established in the Basic Public Information Officer (G290) Course by focusing on Public Information Officer (PIO) responsibilities in large-scale emergency situations. This is accomplished through a series of lectures and simulation exercises. Topics include legal issues, risk communication, interpersonal skills, effective communication in emergencies, media relations, and use of the joint information system.

United States Army Intelligence Center

Intelligence Analyst

1979 - 1980 Trained to analyzes current intelligence holdings to identify gaps, and subsequent intelligence collection requirements. Studies enemy Order of Battle records in the development of collection tasks and assessment of enemy vulnerabilities and probable courses of action. Trained to assist in the preparation of reports on captured enemy material. Trained to draft periodic and special intelligence reports, plans, and briefings.

Oak Ridge Institute of Science and Education

CSEPP Advanced Public Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Course

Current The CSEPP Public Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Course offers technical instruction and hands-on exercises using the latest in cost-effective technology for communicating and collaborating during an emergency. Topics and techniques covered include: - Using the latest social media applications to provide more accurate situational awareness and to reach a larger audience - Developing, editing and posting emergency response related video for just-in-time training or public information - Applying Internet-based technology (cloud computing) to emergency response functions for a more complete operating picture


A concise list of some of the most valuable professional skills I possess. My tricks of the trade and what I can bring to the table.

Press Releases

Emergency Services

Public Information

Disaster Response

Media Relations

Crisis Communications

Public Speaking

Instructor-led Training

Classroom Instruction

Training Delivery

Press Conferences

Social Media

Communications Planning

Public Relations

Communications Strategy

Joint Information Centers

Team Building

Strategic Communications



Community Development

Emergency Management

Emergency Public Information

Staff Training

Report Writing

New Media

Media Outreach

Community Relations

Cross-functional Team Leadership

Team Leadership

Social Media Strategist

Social Media Education

Operations Management

Incident Command

Incident Management

Creative Writing



Public Safety

Homeland Security

Crisis Management




Program Management


Community Outreach

Speech Writing

First Responder



Hear what some of my clients and colleagues have to say about me after working together on various projects throughout my career.

Tom Hegele

Regional Coordinator, FEMA Region VI at ICF International

As a trainer and instructor in crisis communications Mark is able to bring out the best in his students, helping them to build on their strengths, while enabling them to recognize areas where they can do better. His grasp of the Joint/Incident Information Center concepts and ability to impart this to his students and colleagues will pay big dividends in the emergency management community.

Jeff Rivenbark

Executive Producer/TV Host at WTVI PBS Charlotte

Mark is always willing to speak on various issues pertaining to fire safety or to find the appropriate person with the Charlotte Fire Department to assist me with stories for our nationally syndicated television show, America Now.

Dennis Milligan

News Director at WBTV, Charlotte, NC

The job of a Public Information Officer is no easy task, mainly because they have to deal with people like me! Journalists can be demanding, always needing the answer yesterday. Mark is patient, accomodating and thorough, gathering the information we need or putting us in touch with Charlotte Fire Department officials. He understands our deadline pressures. Mark has built strong relationships with the people in my news department. I recommend him enthusiastically.

Marlee Boenig

Fire Education/Public Information Officer at Bowling Green Fire Department

Mark is a dynamic speaker with an uncanny ability to create a comfortable environment for all education levels that attend his classes. Mark has been a speaker for the National Information Officers Association on more than one occasion and always delivers without fail. He's also an all-around nice guy. His knowledge and passion for sharing public information is outstanding.

Moira Quinn

COO/SVP Communications at Charlotte Center City Partners

In addition to Mark's considerable talents as a Public Relations, Media and Communications professional/specialist, Mark is a true convener. He brings people together for a common purpose.

Mark is proactive in providing accurate information to media on behalf of CFD. He is skilled at running and deciding when it makes sense to stand up a Joint Information Center to provide accurate and consolidated information for large scale events like July 4th and the DNC. He so easy to work with and for. He is generous with information.

He is wise in his Communications strategy and planning. Mark thinks through plans and makes smart decisions.

Mark is valued by his colleagues, his partners at City/County, connected agencies and in the Media for all the reasons listed above. He is trusted. In media, you often don't need to say more. Trust is number one.

Danny Diehl

Public Information Director at Mecklenburg County

Mark planned, organized and managed the public information response for the Democratic National Convention. He is organized, thorough, easy going and cool under pressure. He is also certified in virtually every public information emergency response training available.

Katherine Gunby

Public health coordinator

Mark is a leader in the use of social media for crisis and risk communications. He invited me to join him as a panelist in a conference he hosted about social media for first responders. Previously we took a course about emergency public information together. Mark is innovative and inspiring, and a joy to work with.

Adam Brooks

Experienced Technologist, eLearing Instructional Designer, and New Media Communications Professional

I have had the privilege to work with Mark on public safety and communications planning for CPCC and the Charlotte Fire Department, through the Social Media for Responders (SM4Responders) conference and seminar series, and during other community initiatives. Mark takes his passion, applies them and makes things happen -- he “does.” Mark brings enthusiasm, professionalism and a savvy for applying PR and new media practices to the public sector in ways that best serve our community.

Christopher J. Russo

Chief of Department

Captain Basnight as a 25 year first responder has clearly defined what it takes to be successful and well respected not only in his fire service role but also with the public he serves. As a social media visionary Mark embraces the challenges we all face, providing solutions to fast paced changes in technology and communications. The Charlotte Fire Department is fortunate to have such a dedicated and professional individual on staff, I would highly recommend Captain Mark Basnight.

phillis shoemaker

assignment manager at News 14 Carolina

Mark is very responsive and easy to work with. He is dedicated to providing
accurate and timely information to the news media on events involving the Charlotte Fire Department. He takes his responsibilities as a public information officer seriously. He is one of the rare pio's who promptly responds to requests for information and interviews. He understands that sharing information with the media keeps the public informed about events happening in their city.

Ashley Talley

Assistant News Director at WCTI

Mark is an incredibly effective public information manager. He is friendly yet professional, quick to respond, reliable and communicative. He embraces the constantly evolving world of social media and keeps his organization ahead of the curve in social outreach.

John D Bland, APR

Senior Director, Public Relations & News Services at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Mark is an exceptional professional. He's a public information pro and an accomplished trainer and teacher. I have worked with Mark in our public information roles and his accessibility and knack for building relationships has helped my team become more professional. Mark is a great asset and a good man.

Sharon Foote

Assistant Director of Marketing and Communications at Wingate University

From crisis communication to strategic planning, Mark Basnight is a dynamic and effective communicator. His visionary use of social media is recognized nationwide. He is also proficient in traditional PIO roles including on-camera interviews and news briefings.

Emergencies such as fires and floods often don’t happen during business hours. Mark and his colleagues work tirelessly to get key information to the news media and public.

I have had the privilege of collaborating with Mark on public information efforts regarding flood safety. I admire his creativity, dedication and focus on teamwork. He is an outstanding communications professional.

Shelley Lynch

Public Affairs Specialist at FBI

Captain Basnight has an amazing ability to do his job and help the media do our job at the same time. He understands our "news needs" like no one I've ever interacted with before. He also realizes how the media can benefit his department and we work together to serve the public and get emergency information out quickly.

Phillip Comer

I.T. Security Professional, CISSP, MCSE+I

It was a pleasure to work closely with Mark. Aside from his impressive qualifications, and capabilities, Mark has the ability to establish and maintain positive interpersonal and interagency working relationships that are very important in any business. He has model leadership values, emphasizes teamwork, and his principles of resources to complete assignments is excellent.
Although I worked with Mark in a design and technical capacity I observed that quality of information exchanged during media interviews, briefings, and debriefings in my experience was top notch.

I would take any chance to work with Mark again.

Kate Meier

Fit. Creative. Bold.

Mark Basnight is a highly experienced communicator savvy in effectively disseminating information and utilizing social media. He demonstrates his talent daily with the Charlotte Fire Department and through long-term efforts such as organizing the recent social media conference for first responders. He is a pleasure to work with in both capacities.

Rich Palmer

Assistant Chief, Fire Safety Educator Supervisor at Ohio Division of State Fire Marshal / Connect Now!

Mark Basnight exemplifies today what the future of the fire service can be. He shows compassion for his work and caring for his community. His diligence in keeping the community of Charlotte informed about their personal safety and their fire department's activities is seen through his ongoing social media and communications techniques.

Not only does Mark lead his agency in his role as captain, he leads other public information officers by showing them what can be done effectively and efficiently using new tools for communications.

Greg Friese, MS, NRP Editor-in-Chief, author, educator, paramedic, and marathon runner

Mark is a leader in the use of social media for emergency response agencies, like fire departments. He uses social networking and social media tools to achieve the agency's mission. Mark and his colleagues at the Charlotte Fire Department were recipients of the 2009 Social Media Responder of the Year award from

Mark is using social media tools, encouraging other agencies to use those tools, and demonstrating best practices with the social media hub and spokes he has created for CFD.

I know Mark is focused on making sure social media tools serve the agency mission, connect with citizens in a meaningful ways, and increase the agency's engagement with its community.

I look forward to following Mark's ongoing efforts as a Social Media Public Information Officer.

Alan Adler [LION]

Helping businesses grow by enabling their people to excel! -- Executive Coach, Trainer & Speaker

Mark is the "personification" of a Public Information Officer. His experience as a captain provides him unqualified access to people, situations and inside stories, others would never have. Notwistanding Mark's communication skill, he also posses qualites including humility, empathy, professionalism and loyalty that would agreeably cause him to stand out. However, Mark is easy to get along with and... one "terrific" guy.


Get in touch with me if you would like to do business together, share an idea or just say hello.

Greater Chicago Area


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