A warm happy Thanksgiving to you and your family #PIO

I know many of you were tuning in this year to see me deep fry a turkey…


…but that wasn’t in my cards as I am deployed out with FEMA for Hurricane Irma/Maria response and recovery as the PIO in the US Virgin Islands. 

**No matter where you are, we all have much to be thankful for on this Thanksgiving holiday.**

To all of you who are deployed out and/or are working far away from your families, thank you for your dedication to supporting those who are less fortunate.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. 🦃 

@rusnivek

PIO duties at USVI St. John community meeting, USACoE harbor clearance, and supporting for the USCG

This morning, FEMA PIO duties called again – this time back to USVI St. John for the early morning community meeting.

FEMA has a strong presence in this meeting as we continue to support our local agencies while coordinating efforts for our Federal partners.

My job as PIO is to support the DIV/SUP and other command and general staff positions.

After the meeting ended, I also got a chance to work with the US Army Corp of Engineers on harbor safety messaging.

Additionally, we got to share some time-sensitive safety messages for vessel reclamation with the US Coast Guard and Emergency Support Function 10.

As you can see, doing PIO work isn’t always easy.

However, sharing the message is huge as we continue to push the recovery effort for all of the US Virgin Islands.

Reporting live from the disaster recovery effort here in the USVI Cruz Bay Galge Cove…

@rusnivek

USVI St. John and our DRCs

Busy morning as we had a big day planned for US Virgin Island St. John.

A quick trip out to our Disaster Recovery Center in Coral Bay.

Without a doubt, it is beautiful here on St. John.

As a PIO, I get to share news that showcases the efforts of local public safety pros…

…and we continue to support local operations with others Federal agencies.

I have always been proud of highlighting the efforts of our Disaster Recovery Center (DRC). These centers are the FEMA front lines taking in disaster assistance registrations from survivors. Staffed not only by FEMA, but other partners from DHS.

In most cases, FEMA will locate these DRCs in a centralized location(s). USVI St. John, the Disaster Recovery Centers are located in

  • Coral Bay in the old fire station
  • Cruz Bay downtown at the Legislative building

Reporting live from the downtown Cruz Bay Disaster Recovery Center in US Virgin Islands St. John…

@rusnivek

Sunday travels, meetings, and a grumpy iguana around St. Thomas #USVI

I am supposedly scheduled off today (Sunday), but that didn’t exactly happen. Not only that, the roads were out so I had leave a bit earlier to the rally point.

The roads were…..not that great.

On the way, there are lots of homes that are being cleaned out and not everyone qualifies for the popular US Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) Blue Roof Program.

For more information on the Blue Roof Program, call 888-766-3258.

As luck would have it, one of the local social workers/mental health counselors wanted to chat about ongoing operations on how we can better meet the needs of the senior population. However, we started the beach meeting with a rather large and grumpy iguana.

Grumpy Iguana

Fun stuff right? Don’t worry, I didn’t let my first beach meeting go to waste.

BEFORE

However, I definitely jinxed it and after a few short hours, we had this roll in.

AFTER

Quickly followed by the NWS Thunderstorm warning and Flash flood warning. Here’s the video from the drive back up the mountain.

Though for a Sunday, I have to admit that PIO planning with sand between my toes is definitely a new one for me.

@rusnivek

Cat-5 Hurricane Maria damages still visible in the #USVI

Weeks after a Category-5 direct hit from Hurricane Maria, the damages in the US Virgin Islands are still a very visible part of the community.

Not only structures, but also countless boats are kinda in the water…

…and on land too.

Roads aren’t that great either.

Many residential structures are damaged and at major risk of collapse.

Trust me when I say countless Federal and public safety professionals are working hard to ensure that all of the survivors are getting the help they need.

We are in it for the long run.

FEMA PIO reporting live from the US Virgin Islands…

@rusnivek

 

Newly opened Disaster Recovery Center in downtown St. Thomas along the waterfront. #PIO

Doing a short interview with US Virgin Island’s Channel-2 news on the new FEMA Disaster Recovery Center that just opened up in downtown St. Thomas along the waterfront.


FEMA PIO onscene with new information for the Channel-2 News team and Kishon Casey.


Sharing news about a new community resource is always great esp to support survivors.


Ways to apply to get disaster assistance:

Apply today!

@rusnivek