FEMA Basic Academy graduation – first one in Illinois

The time has come to welcome all of our graduates of the FEMA Basic Academy here at DuPage County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management!

“This is the first FEMA Basic Academy offered here in Illinois and we are proud to bring this Emergency Management foundation education here to DuPage County.” said Academy Instructor Kevin Sur. “The skills learned during this intensive course from November through March builds the framework for all Emergency Managers combining knowledge of all fundamental systems, concepts, and practices of leading actions for future leaders.”

The course started in November 2019 where participants were exposed to all mission areas including a myriad of case studies that highlighted the importance of collaboration and coordination in the response and recovery phase of any disaster or emergency.

In January 2020, participants took a deep dive into the science of disasters as well as planning to better help and understand the threats and dangers to each of their own communities.

To understand our hazards, we must understand legit science so that we can use the right resources to solve the problem.

The last week in March 2020, the class focused on the hot button topic of Homeland Security Exercise Evaluation Program and the Public Information and Warning course. Special thanks to new FEMA MEPP DuPage County OHSEM Sup Corey Mulryan for teaching with me on this one.

Participants debated the use of mass notification systems, social media in targeting specific audiences, and the value of the Public Information Officer (PIO) who’s role is so vital to the success of the agency.

Proud to be a part of the Instructional delivery team to get this first class here at DuPage County OHSEM.

Who’s who in the zoo? Well, we had participants from 6 different states, 3 different FEMA Regions with a diverse crowd from local, county, state, and Federal partners.

OUTSTANDING!!!!!

As we rolled into the graduation, I was able to make some opening remarks and thanking our most esteemed guests in the room.

Glad to hear from the new FEMA Region V Deputy Regional Administrator Kevin Sligh.

Deputy RA Sligh is a graduate of the program and is proud to see this foundational course being used as the marker of success for local Emergency Managers.

We also got a chance to hear from FEMA Region 5 Training & Exercise Manager Jessica Mitchell on the value of training. She is a proud resident of DuPage County.

And finally, to close things out, ladies and gents….put your hands together for Former IEMA Director and former Director of DuPage OHSEM….FEMA Region V Regional Administrator James Joseph!!!!

@rusnivek = #HypeMan

Great to hear his words of wisdom as his start here at DuPage and move on up has been solid.

Oh yeah…..social media. Yeah, I haven’t been posting a ton of stuff. Been concentrating on instruction and delivering the best class stuff.

Buttttttttttttttttttttttttt since I am one of the few FEMA Master PIOs, I figured it was only appropriate that I take a class selfie right?

#engagement #selfie

But seriously, I’m super proud of all the work that everyone contributed in class.

Lots of love for all of them.

More importantly, I know who I can count on during an activation/disaster.

Rusnivek’s 2020 Objective-1: Instructor certified FEMA Basic Academy – completed.

From the bottom of my heart, mahalos to my colleagues for the support throughout the academy.

Reporting live with a huge smile on my face…..

@rusnivek

A more resilient nation – thanks Dan!

Thank you to FEMA Deputy Administrator for Resilience Dan Kaniewski.

Your national efforts to push long-term planning for resilient communities will have long lasting effects for Emergency Managers as we all strive to better prepare our communities for any emergency or disaster.

Best of luck on your new adventure in the private sector.

@rusnivek

 

Acting Secretary Wolf Statement on the Confirmation of Pete Gaynor:

Acting Secretary Wolf Statement on the Confirmation of Pete Gaynor:

Release Date: January 14, 2020

“Today, the U.S. Senate confirmed Pete Gaynor to be Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). As Acting Administrator of FEMA throughout 2019 and into 2020, Gaynor led the agency’s recovery efforts for many devastating disasters, including the California wildfires, tornado outbreaks, severe storms, flooding in the Midwest, and the Puerto Rico earthquakes. And as Deputy Administrator for the 2018 hurricane season, Pete guided FEMA through some tremendous challenges to provide much needed assistance to disaster survivors across the country. Pete’s experience as both a state and local emergency manager, combined with more than two decades of service in the U.S. Marine Corps, have made him an invaluable leader of the agency. I look forward to continuing to work with him to support the men and women of FEMA as they carry out their incredible work.”

Congrats to FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor on his confirmation today!

@rusnivek

 

Quick chat with FEMA Deputy Administrator Dan Kaniewski

I was fortunate this week to sit down this week with FEMA Deputy Administrator for Resilience Dan Kaniewski at FEMA HQ.

Dan’s efforts across the country has helped pushed the importance of preparedness and strength for any community. With regular talks on flood insurance and hazard mitigation, his ability to bring pre-disaster planning to the forefront has been solid as we continue to help many communities better prepare for any disaster or emergency.

Dan’s hard fought efforts is not only with government agencies, but various partners in the public and private sector too. The importance of their efforts will only help better their community when disaster strikes.

Glad to see our top brass pushing for more preparedness every single day too.

Reporting live from FEMA HQ…Happy Aloha Friday peeps!

@rusnivek

2019 National Preparedness Symposium Day-2

An incredible Wednesday as we continue our efforts to collaborate here at the 2019 National Preparedness Symposium.

I chatted with Acting FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor on the importance of continuing to build a culture of preparedness and how it is so critical to our audiences.

Super nice guy.

He then popped the morning plenary session to the entire conference and FEMA employees. Huge discussion on our strategic plan and then a few things in his role as a state director he wished he had when he started at FEMA.

Solid insight from the top at FEMA. Nice guy.

Lots of afternoon sessions including one with the National Disaster Preparedness Consortium (NDPC).

Great discussion amongst participants including

  1. Policy/procedure on admittance into courses
  2. Frank discussion on prerequisites for admittance into class
  3. Ongoing class challenges including rostering.

After the NDPC panel discussion was over, I quickly moved a few rooms over to check out a worthwhile discussion on the I–35 bridge and failing infrastructure. Also had some discussion about structural assessments.

Glad to be having ongoing discussions to maintain our critical access points in many cities across the US.

Then it was time to present my course: Social Media in Emergency Management. Woohoo!!!!

Glad to be sharing the knowledge with providers from across the country.

Engaged audience including a few questions on engagement as well as OSINT gathering and augmented reality. Great to peek the interest and maybe MAYBE be that catalyst for change with our industry.

Shout out to Bronlea the n00b as this was her first trip to the Center for Domestic Preparedness!

Looking forward to tomorrow’s FIT class with FEMA Director John Allen.

Reporting live with all the HQ peeps hanging in FEMA Region 4…

@rusnivek

The 2018 Hurricane VTC at FEMA HQ in the NRCC

Making the hop to Washington DC.

Fun day ahead as we kickoff 2018 Hurricane season with a national VTC at FEMA HQ.

In the National Response Coordination Center, the same place where we brief our partners from across the nation during critical events, emergencies, and/or disasters.

Introductions by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Brock Long.

Additional information provided from USNORTHCOM/NORAD Commander General Terrence O’Shaughnessy, Department of Commerce Assistant Secretary Dr. Neil Jacobs, and the National Hurricane Center/NOAA Director Kenneth Graham with a brief outlook for the 2018 Hurricane season.

We heard briefings from Region-4, Region-1, Region-2, Region-3, Region-6, and Region-9 on testing communications capabilities across state/region and hurricane shortfalls from 2017 and last-mile logistical capability.

Look closely, we had the White House jump in on the call too.

Special call-ins from the State of Maryland Emergency Management Agency’s (MEMA) Executive Director Russell Strickland who was calling in from catastrophic flooded Ellicott City, Maryland.

Great to see so many partners providing insight into their programs.

Their pre-existing relationships for local, state, and Federal partnerships will enhance the response and recovery piece for any area affected by hurricanes.

Special shout out to FEMA IGA Ryan Streeter who was deployed with me during Hurricane Irma in the Florida Keys.

Working the magic for IGA today. Glad to be part of the team.

Also glad to see Gloria, Nicole, Kia, Al, and Sarah today too.

@rusnivek

This is what we train for

FEMA Administrator Brock Long made a poignant statement about his employees today in the NY Times:

“…this is what we train for” – FEMA Administrator Brock Long

Brock Long, center, at a briefing on Hurricane Harvey relief efforts with President Trump and local organizations in Corpus Christi, Tex., last week. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times

Brock Long, center, at a briefing on Hurricane Harvey relief efforts with President Trump and local organizations in Corpus Christi, Tex., last week. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times

Yes sir, we train all the time.

Many instructors across this nation can attest the long hours we spend providing training for hundreds of thousands of our all-hazards public safety professionals from all walks of life.

This is truly what we train for.

@rusnivek