Monday morning with FEMA HQ staff

Solid Monday morning here at FEMA HQ.

Catching up to a few friends in External Affairs because preparedness doesn’t stop! I knew Jana starting back in the day as we were (and still are) huge advocates for the Ready.Gov Program.

For more details behind the FEMA Ready.Gov program, check out

And since we are talking about External Affairs, I got a chance to take a deep dive with FEMA External Affairs Director Jessica Nalepa.

Lots of discussion on the complexities of External Affairs and how our actions are so critical in a disaster and of course the public perception. Also lots of discussion on dedication to career and service.

Looking forward to having more discussion with her on how to improve our response and elevate External Affairs for FEMA and the nation.

Suit up because I’m reporting live from Washington DC….


You can read? Yep, my quarterly reading

People often ask what I read to supplement my profession. I read four books per year. (Hilariously, I also have the same amount of people who also ask me “HOW THE HELL DO YOU FIND THE TIME TO READ?!?!?”)

While I am sure I can read more, if I inundate my little brain with too much stuff, I would never implement the things I glean from reading.

As we close out 3Q, and since we are teaching the FEMA COOP Manager TtT course, I am finishing up Reading Raven Rock.

Interesting perspective to historical processes and def a fun government read esp when it comes to continuity operations.

As we start 4Q, I have opted to switch to a more specific book. Since I already follow Nada, I am looking forward to reading some of her thoughts on Targeters.

You know I love to hunt.

What are you reading this quarter?

(Gimme some ideas on what you are reading for my 1Q 2020 time.)


FSE with decreased staffing?

Not all emergencies or disasters happen in broad daylight…or even better yet, M-F 8A-5p. That’s why it’s imperative that your staff trains for situations that come up during weird hours.

Our staff attended the DuPage County Airport exercise that simulated an aircraft w/ mechanical issues then crashing.

Obviously a tough situation, but definitely plausible/realistic (few years ago).

We had many all-hazards providers from across the area to respond and are thankful for their participation in the full-scale exercise.

Now, interesting to hear that there were several real world calls that occurred during the exercise that decreased the response effort.

Lemme be straight: THAT IS WHAT HAPPENS IRL!

So as a planner or leader, don’t be discouraged with this variance because this is exactly why we train for these types of situation. Rarely, will we have a day that everyone is working wIth 100% capacity.

Look at it this way, being able to provide the same capability with decreased staffing Is a win for your department.

If you fudge your exercises to showcase you are perfect 100% of the time, real Emergency Managers now you are a fraud.

Be real. Make your training real and best serve your partners.


Today at 1017 #ShakeOut

Today is International ShakeOut day where at 10:17am (your time zone) we should all practice earthquake safety!

Soooooo, in case you need some ideas on what to do, here is my plan.

Seems like FEMA Region-8 approves!

Shout out to the FEMA Region-8 peeps who ran the Twitter #ShakeOutChat yesterday. Lots of great ideas on preparedness as well as what to do during an earthquake.

So no matter who or where you are…

Take a moment and assess your options BEFORE an earthquake strikes.

For more information on earthquake preparedness tips, check out Ready.Gov earthquake‘s page!


Earthquake now? Don’t freeze up!

With the International Great ShakeOut Exercise tomorrow, I wanted to share a single thing that we tend to do…esp DURING an earthquake. That is freeze!

And since we as human beings are often occupied with our phones and social media, an earthquake can cause us to freak out/freeze and ultimately NOT do what we are trained to do.

If you don’t think/train on earthquakes, this could be you.

Ya know, maybe consider doing the things we tell you about every year. Just remember:

That’s right, train like you fight. And in this situation, your actions could actually save your life.

Be safe. Looking forward to seeing you taking cover tomorrow at 10:17am.


Are you ready for the 2019 International ShakeOut day?

The International ShakeOut Day is October 17! That’s just t-minus two days away!

To prepare for tomorrow’s earthquake exercise, I wanted to push the preferred infographic that you can use and share with all your constituents.

Hey PIO! Don’t forget that your messaging needs to address all audiences.

Do I practice what I preach? Yep.

And to boot, I also encourage and exercise WITH my fellow class attendees to participate in our class activities too.

Awwww yeah!

Shout out to my friends in San Jose, CA for the great example of earthquake preparedness!

So get yourself ready for some shake-shake action!