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Emergency Services

Protecting All Disaster Survivors from Fraudsters

Solid Tuesday start with an interview with 3 News Now (CBS affiliate) Omaha.

Today’s story will focus in on protecting our disaster survivors against fraudsters and scam artists. So it paid off when MMJ Ruta Ulcinaite called and wanted to schedule an interview.

Lots of questions on how to make sure visitors are really FEMA official employees…

…informing our audiences that FEMA employees never ask for money….

…and of course letting the public know we work closely with public safety agencies when issues like this come up.

And if you are going to ask, we’ve had multiple reports of people falsify information and are trying to defraud disaster survivors. Grrrrrrrrrrrr.

It is imperative that we work with our partners in the media to get the word out to protect their viewing audiences on what to do and how to combat the mis-information for any disaster survivor.

Since our efforts are statewide, we have to reach a wide audience including TV, radio, newspaper, social media, etc….countless ways to communicate on ALL mediums. As the Public Information Officer (PIO) – it is your job to be the face of the agency as we continue to support the recovery efforts here for the 28 counties and one tribal nation.

Our efforts at FEMA are committed to helping these community before, during, and after a disaster.

Reporting live from the Joint Field Office with Ruta….


Wait wait, don’t tell me…NET! NPR! Nebraska!

Did someone say NET? NPR? PBS?

Glad I was able to finally make a stop here at NET Nebraska.

Dennis provided a quick walking tour and showcased their toys here in Lincoln.


OMG….That. Is. Awesome. I would have never expected the NPR/PBS station to have this caliber of TV production!

Not only all the bells and whistles for infield production, but also studio time too!

Obv a HUGE venue that is modular to handle large press briefings with perfect sound, lighting, and all kinds of digital support.

Staff also relays the long time shows for production like the Backyard Farmer, the longest running locally-produced television series in the nation just celebrated it’s 67th season on NET.

All shot in studio or on location with NET Nebraska.

Outstanding support for a local show including the ability to flex up and do remote shows.

Great to see local support for a station that gives back to their community with meeting space, tours for kids, and of course solid programming for everyone.

Looking forward to sharing their documentary on the Nebraska disaster response “And the Floods came…”


Also a few PSAs as we round the corner in #recovery

Closing out this Disaster Declaration, we want to make sure we hit all of our identified audiences. We’ve done lots of TV, radio, and newspaper interviews…but we still believe there is great benefit in the Public Safety Announcement or PSA.

In my deployment bag, I have a small hand-held voice recorder just for this reason. This little device has some seriously good audio quality and once I’m done recording the audio, I can plug the connecting USB into my compute and send it off via email in an MP3 format. Here’s an example of what a newer version of mine looks like.

So I guess you can say it’s a workable dongle.

However, I expect more out of my PIO peeps.

Most analog stations don’t have conversion software…esp in a disaster.

Does anyone have an MP3 player? (Still downloading from Napster?)

Wav files are waaaaay to big to send via email. (If you try to zip or condense, you will easily degrade the file.)

So you want another solution? YouTube it! The world currently uses YouTube as a verb so why not use tech to your advantage. A quick upload and splice w/ a screen shot of topic, duration, and key points is best.

Here’s our two PSAs that we are using 30-seconds and 15-seconds respectively.


Simple, nothing fancy, but news agencies can pull that PSA right off YouTube and use. Additionally, you can use YouTube’s analytics to measure downloads and other deets. Document, document, document right?!?! Proof is in the pudding…I mean analytics.

So how did we do this?

Step-1: Standard contrast picture (I took a picture of the wall).

Step-2: Overlay text graphics over background. Make sure contrast is clear and key info can be seen to reinforce key message being read by talent.

Step-3: Splice the audio-track over still picture.

Step-4: Upload to YouTube!

Step-5: Have another sip of coffee.

No need for a pro studio bec we don’t have that kind of luxury in the field. So here’s the down/dirty setup.

Awwww yeah. Lapel mic + phone holster + pillow = success. The pillow deadens the echos and the mic clipped to phone holster allows talent to project his/her voice as opposed to talk down to their chest.

And trust me, the natural mic on your phones will not do a good job (omni-directional w/ arbitrary sound isolation).

Sunday rest? Nope. External Affairs is continuing the hard charging effort meet the objectives set in this operational period.


Saturday DRC in Custer County #Recovery

Busy Saturday as we close out the Disaster Recovery Center in Sargent.

Additionally, our Mitigation Team working the magic to help many disaster survivors rebuild their homes so that they are more resilient.

Late afternoon meetings with the DIV/SUP and operational updates too. Glad to be able to support our partners.

Most definitely a busy Saturday as we continue the statewide recovery effort. Proud to serve.