Anaheim Fire & Rescue adds part-time Spanish-speaking PIO

By Elysse James

Anaheim residents will soon be seeing more of Firefighter/Paramedic Franky Mora.

After 16 years at Anaheim Fire & Rescue, Mora is taking on a new role in addition to his firefighter/paramedic job duties: as-needed Spanish-speaking public information officer (PIO).

As a PIO, he’ll speak to Spanish media about major events and fire education, such as a recent incident in which a car ran into a gas pump and the pump caught fire.

Anaheim Fire & Rescue’s new part-time Spanish-speaking PIO Franky Mora.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge

Mora has been on the Hazardous Materials Response Team for 13 years and has been a medic for three years.

“I’ve kind of done a little bit of everything, so this is definitely something new for me, which is cool,” said Mora, who joined Anaheim Fire & Rescue in 2000, when he first was hired as a part-time public education specialist. “It’s an honor to be able to represent the fire department.”

Anaheim Fire & Rescue PIO Daron Wyatt approached Mora a couple years ago about taking on the role and assisting him, primarily with Spanish-speaking media.

“Franky helped me on a Spanish interview and I knew I had to get him onto the PIO team,” Wyatt said. “He has a million-dollar smile and the media loved him.”

“I didn’t believe it,” Mora said. “I told him, ‘Talk is cheap.’”

About a year later, Mora was meeting with Wyatt, former Anaheim Fire & Rescue Chief Randy Bruegman, and other agency leaders.

“That’s when it became more real,” Mora said. “It’s an honor for sure.”

Anaheim Fire & Rescue’s new part-time Spanish-speaking PIO Franky Mora is a firefighter, paramedic, and hazardous materials specialist.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge

Mora will represent Anaheim Fire & Rescue to Spanish-speaking media covering Anaheim, including Univision, Telemundo, Estrella TV, Excelsior, and more.

“For the most part, if we’re on duty and we have something big, we end up on scene anyways,” Mora said.

Already he’s done two television interviews; one for the ignited gas pump and another for an unfortunate accident in which a woman was moving a car and ran over her child when the child ran behind the vehicle.

Anaheim Fire & Rescue spokesman Franky Mora speaks to the media in his new as-needed role as Spanish-speaking public information officer.
Photo courtesy of Franky Mora

Talking about the gas pump, Mora said, was easier because he was a firefighter on scene that day.

“I was actually on the hose line and I put out the fire,” he said. “Getting in front of the camera is always hard. It’s always nerve-racking being in front of the camera.”

Anaheim Fire & Rescue spokesman Franky Mora speaks to the media in his new as-needed role as Spanish-speaking public information officer.
Photo courtesy of Franky Mora

Mora has completed two multi-day PIO training courses, with more to follow, to learn to feel comfortable in front of a camera, how to provide information to the public and the media, and how to manage social media accounts– an entirely new skill for a man who doesn’t have any personal social media accounts.

He’s looking forward to the educational aspects of the job, explaining to the public why the firefighters do things like climb on the roof to ventilate a structure, allowing heat and smoke to escape and minimizing the smoke and heat damage to the inside of the building.

“I can just keep them a little more informed,” Mora said. “I’m excited for this.”