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

Breaking news from the official State of Columbia PIO… #APIO

Wait a second…WAIT A SECOND!!!!

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2020 FEMA Advanced PIO class. Photo cred: TheGabeLugo

Is that the State of Columbia Public Information Officer making a solid appearance at the 2020 January FEMA EMI Advanced PIO class?!?

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OMG~!!! I’m #famous

“I’d like to thank the support of the State of Columbia Governor Düsseldorf (aka Maryland EMA PIO Ed McDonough) for his unwavering support through these years as the State of Columbia PIO…”

Special thanks to Super CCN Reporter Mr. LukeSkyWatcher on his outstanding stories on this evolving incident here in Central City and Emerald City in the State of Columbia.

Photo cred: Niki Bender (@NikiBender)

“We vow to work the recovery for our cities, who are the true beating heart of our State of Columbia. We will dedicate resources to strengthen and rebuild affected areas. Together, we will continue to build a prepared and resilient nation.”

I’ll take a few questions at this time….

@rusnivek

Final day of the new 2019 ICS-400

The final day of new 2019 ICS-400! But first, let’s see…what the-

WHY IS THERE SNOW?!?!?

Dang it.

Thanks again to Will County (IL) EMA Director Harold Damron for instructing this ICS class with me this week.

Lots of great discussion on coordination and resource ordering. Deep convos on complex problems esp on after action reviews (AARs) and implementation plans. And the complexities of collaboration is incredibly important esp at the Type-1 and Type-2 responses. As you know, that is the crux of Emergency Management.

Special shout out to Chief Gorsky and all the members of the Darien–Woodridge Fire Department on the fine hospitality.

EM-1 clear, enroute back to quarters.

Gotta prep for our next class!

@rusnivek

Day 1 of ICS-400 at DWFD

Starting out day-1 of the new 2019 version of ICS-400: Advanced ICS. Also me trying to be creative with a half holiday wreath of ICS participant guide books.

Yeah yeah, I won’t quit my day job.

We will pop a little Dean Martin this morning as participants roll in. While not the normal intro music, I figured we could all be a bit more festive.

As always, special shoutout to Fire Chief Gorsky and the crews from Darien Woodridge Fire Department on the warm hospitality.

Great to have this partnership with a progressive department who is always willing to host and serve countless communities across Illinois.

Unlike ICS-300, our Advanced ICS class has lots of group work and we are fortunate because in this class, we have a diverse group from hospitals and police….

…and Emergency Management, Health Department, Fire, Law Enforcement…

…private industry, and various county-wide agencies.

All here to learn and collaborate with others as we continue to build the skills of our most trusted partners from across Illinois.

This week, we are joined by Will County Emergency Management Agency’s Director Harold Damron.

The incredibly strong partnership between county Emergency Management Agencies is forged in the heat of the battle fighting the good fight every single day across this country.

Additionally, Director Damron has some diverse nuclear/radioactive challenges in his jurisdictions which help provide a different perspective on Emergency Management’s response to any disaster or perceived emergency.

Outstanding day. Looking forward to a full day tomorrow for the last day of ICS-400: Advanced ICS.

@rusnivek

Day-2 of the new 2019 ICS-400 course!

Day-2 of the new 2019 ICS-400 course! This morning, we start out talking about the deadly 2005 Hurricane Katrina/Rita response with the US Coast Guard.

Facilitated discussion allows our participants to openly discuss perceived issues. Lots of response actions from all of our participants that can contribute to a successful response. Glad we had fruitful discussion prior to the actual disaster.

Our class also acknowledged the national Emergency Alert System Test today for TV and radio.

Everyone in class knew about it…aka prepared leadership and pros. Love it!

Midmorning and afternoon class-time was spent on the capstone activity with heavy discussion on the use of area command and how we allocate resources for multiple jurisdictions.

And you are right if you said that the rotor wing options are high on the list of valuable recourses.

Channeling my best FEMA EMI Bob Ridgeway, “…and don’t worry sports fans” moment, we included the infamous State of Columbia!

This fictions town is always a disaster.

Great to see so many partners discuss overarching goals including challenges with the big three public safety providers. Like pros, they included a large bite into health intelligence, DoD assets, and of course addressing various audiences like the tribal nations. Solid!

Proud to serve my fellow public safety pros from all professions this week in the ICS-400 course.

@rusnivek

The new 2019 ICS-400 this week!

Good morning peeps – welcome to the new 2019 ICS-400: Advanced ICS!

Proud to be one of the first instructors to roll this course out to our public safety partners that popped in late July. This week’s class? We have a bunch of pros from all backgrounds including Fire, EMS, Police, Healthcare, Public Works, Communications, Health Department, National Guard, Civil Support Teams, State, VA, Intelligence, and Tribal nations. I’m proud to serve all these pros.

Lots of discussion on preparedness efforts esp with some of the projected large disasters from across the country. In fact, discussion on preparedness for Cascadia Rising, New Madrid Fault, and national infrastructure failures were consistently discussed through the day. Related note: Proud to hear of sooo many prepared pros in class this week.

Classically, lots to share as Emergency Management pros continues to coordinate response through training and exercises. Train like you fight right?

Aside from powerpoints, the new ICS-400 has a bunch of in class activities that talk about complex incidents, Unified Command, and area command. Productively discussing issues in class BEFORE a disaster can only help to understand challenges that many agencies face…which could be exacerbated during crisis/emergency.

Glad to have engaged professionals in class this week.

Get your ICS on!

@rusnivek