FEMA Basic PIO Day-2 with Media panel!

Day-2 of the FEMA Basic Public Information Officer’s course here in Summit County, Ohio! Starting off discussion on body language and non-verbal cues from Bosso.

I was fortunate to have a few of my media peeps stop by to say hi.

Cleveland 19 News (@Cleveland19news) Director of Digital Content Amanda Harnocz (@AmandaHarnocz)

News 5 Cleveland (@WEWS) Reporter Meg Shaw (@MegDShaw)

So glad to hear their insights to news media engagement and interactions.

We opened the floor to questions and our new PIOs had some deep questions on conflict resolution and maintaining relationships.

Proud to have media members attend all my classes as an integral part of getting the message out.

A hallmark sign of a solid PIO? Always building media relationships BEFORE an emergency.

Thanks you Meg and Amanda!

In the afternoon, we had a quick public safety panel from

Cleveland Police (@CLEPolice) PIO Sgt Jennifer Ciaccia

Cleveland Fire (@ClevelandFire) PIO Lt Michael Norman

Outstanding to hear from working PIOs who have worked so hard to improve the image of their departments during challenging times.

And finally, to close out the day, we had a quick visit from Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office (@CuyahogaSheriff) PIO John O’Brien (@jobjr)!

Providing solid media interactions and being firm on your stance as a PIO is critical in assuring your agency is seen as a trusted and guaranteed source of information. Thankful to hear positive stories from John for all of our class today.

I am proud to be able to share and open connections for these new PIOs from across the state.

Tomorrow we take them from single role PIOs and form up Voltron in the JIC!

@rusnivek

Family plans: Comforting items for children in disaster #NatlPrep 

When making your plan for your family do include planning for all the kiddos. 

Keep comforting items like favorite stuffed animals that will help children cope with adverse events in an emergency. 


For more preparedness tips this month, follow along throughout the month. 


Stay safe and plan ahead! 

@rusnivek

PIO Tip: Frame your shot and reduce your onscene variables

I was finishing up my AARs and found a picture from the last night of the Republican National Convention (RNC).

Quick tip for you PIOs doing field reporting: Frame your shot.

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Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams doing an interview with Time Magazine. Obvious chalked roadway with profane statement behind him. Videographer is recording at an upward angle to frame his subject.

During the RNC, we found that it was critical to frame the shot. Onscene shots were particularly tough because so many activist groups had signs, chalked, or painted words that are inappropriate for pictures or even worse yet, uncontrolled live broadcast hits (Periscope or FacebookLive or YouTubeLive).

Additionally, live outdoor broadcasts from the scene are challenging because it is difficult to control the natural and man-made variables.

So as PIOs we need to reduce any signs, ropes, wires, etc….that could affect your framed shot.

 

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Trust me, reduce the amount of variables to a bare minimum.

Focus your energy in delivering your message. #PIO

@rusnivek

 

Spent my day with my hometown CERT

Spent my day volunteering with my hometown Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).

On arrival, I thought I was going to get assigned a different task, but logistics and parking was the identified main concern and safety was an issue.

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After I got briefed on the event, I discussed our situation with all the participants. As CERT, we coordinated our efforts so that our actions/tactics could best match the safety of our personnel as well as others who were there attending the event.

I briefed the Mayor on our ongoing operations and even looked at a few alternate plans.

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Of course we continued to assess our event and think about other safety measures.

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And of course we had a few moments to share a smile.

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Fun fact, our Council President and Safety Chair is also a proud founding member of my awesome CERT Team. Booya!

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Seriously, I love it when elected members of local government give back to their community.

We identified a few issues that will need to be made for the 2016 event (like a formal all-hazards traffic plan with maps, uniformed vests, pre-event plan dissemination/distribution, more participation, etc…). Maybe a formal Incident Action Plan (IAP). Fairly easy stuff that we would be happy to share w/ our constituents.

Wait….What? You have never heard of FEMA’s CERT program before? Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help. CERT members also are encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in their community.

More info can be found on FEMA’s website here.

Want to volunteer within your own community? Want to make a difference in your community? Click here to locate the closest CERT Team to you!

As always, I believe I can make a difference in my community. Fun fact: I’ve been volunteering with my CERT since 2007.

I hope you will do the same.

@rusnivek