Day-2 of the FEMA Basic PIO Course here in KY

Day-2 of the FEMA Basic Public Information Officer Course here.

Glad to finally meet Lexington Fire Capt Jessica Bowman who is also one of the FEMA Master PIOs.

Great day to share some of the tools we use as PIOs. Here’s Sherelle and John talking about the importance and fashionable safety vests are for officials onscene.

Additionally, we discussed media being well visible as their safety is incredibly important. We can’t have our friends in the news business get hurt or become part of the incident.

And trust me, the more people who get injured in an incident, the more paperwork we all have to fill out….so be safe!

As usual, we had a very seasoned media panel from WLEX18 Bill Wilcox and Herald Leader Peter Baniak. Many thanks to both news organizations to spend time out of their busy schedule to spend with PIOs from across the state.

With all Basic PIO classes, we talk about the ability and flexibility for PIOs to do field reporting. Often times, reporters can’t get to a scene because of traffic or lack of staffing. Either way, we as government PIOs can help them out by packaging information they need from the scene. The tools needed to produce this kind of info is fairly easy to get, however the challenge is to put them into play.

By sharing the tactics and tools in class, I am able to improve the skills of any PIO by enhancing their ability to share solid timely and TRUSTED information with any of the targeted audiences.

As PIOs, we are beholden to so many audiences.

  • Public
  • Media
  • Leadership
  • Our internal teams.

At times, our job seems easy however once you dive into it, you can see the complexities of our efforts.

Don’t worry, we reviewed all mock on camera interviews. Tackled key concepts like redirects as well as some tips on how to give more positive non-verbals while being interviewed during crisis.

Super fun day with everyone. Lots of contributions from our partners from Fire, EMS, Police, Emergency Management, Energy, Coroner’s Office, Higher Education, Search and Rescue.

Looking forward to tomorrow’s FEMA JIC/JIS course!

Reporting live from the EOC….

@rusnviek

FEMA Basic PIO course at the PSOC

Morning start to the FEMA Basic Public Information Officer course at the Public Safety Operations Center (PSOC)

Welcome and good morning by Mr. JB himself!

Packed house with multiple disciplines represented from Fire, EMS, Police, Emergency Management, ESF-12, higher education, Search and Rescue, Coroners Office, etc…

Like a good Emergency Manager, I found the EOC.

They have soooo many tools and toys to play with!

As all FEMA Basic PIO courses, we are staunch advocates of putting all participants in front of the camera. No matter what kind of experience level or years in the position, you can always learn by practicing your skills in front of others.

We typically hear complaints.

  • I didn’t get enough time to prepare.
  • I didn’t get the information in time.
  • I don’t know anything about plane crashes!

Blah blah blah. But the reality of the situation is….IT HAPPENS LIKE THAT IN REAL LIFE!!!!!!!!

So yeah, we want to train like you fight.

For those that were wondering “Has this ever happened before?” Yes.

Looking forward to tomorrow day-2 with our news media panel, interview reviews, and focus on social media.

@rusnivek

FEMA Basic PIO Course here at Defiance County EMA

It’s just another Manic Monday as we start another FEMA OEMA Basic PIO Course here at Defiance County Emergency Management Agency (Ohio). Cue the Guns n Roses intro music!

Not going to lie, all signs point to a large contingent from our law enforcement community here today.

Lots of new PIOs in the audience today as we try to share the good word from so many agencies. Almost every ESF is represented!

All-hazards coolio on Monday!

As an added instructor bonus, we get a chance to see what campaigns that Ohio EMA has worked for previous outreach activities in Ohio. Hi Nancy!!!!!

My lunch time views include a few red fire trucks.

Ahhhhh, I feel better now.

And in classic fashion, we are most definitely doing on-camera interviews.

While seemingly insignificant, this is the part of the class that participants find is the most valuable for their ongoing career.

Me? I’d rather you have that experience and training and never use it vs never having that training and then being thrown to the wolves in a crisis or emergency.

Train like you fight right?

Reporting live from the EOC as I ask those challenging media-esque questions…

@rusnivek

2019 May is cray!

Justin Timberlake better be busy too because this month because it’s about to get redic.

First week in May, our team was invited to teach ICS-300: Intermediate ICS to leadership staff at the Illinois Air National Guard.

Second week, will be the ICS-400 class and the solid bunch of social media classes (Basic Social Media, Social Media Engagement Strategies, Social Media Tools and Techniques).

Third week, we will be popping the FEMA G0290/0291 Basic PIO and JIC/JIS course with one of my favorite FEMA DSASers…Sister Michael!

Fourth week, I will be presenting at the 2019 National Preparedness Symposium at the Center for Domestic Preparedness in Alabama.

And the last week is the full set of FEMA Basic PIO and JIC/JIS Course at Aurora Police.

If you are calculating that out, that’s 128 hours of straight classroom time.

Fortunately, I enhanced the playlist this past weekend.

Headphones in, affirm the mission and objectives, head down…No time for rest.

@rusnivek

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

FEMA Basic PIO – day 2 with media!

Day-2 of the FEMA Basic PIO course here at DuPage County OHSEM and I wanted to pay my respects…..I mean focus in a bit on press releases.

While just one tool in the tool box, press releases were the primary way to get the info out to media partners about 15 years ago.

Yes, don’t ask. I remember writing my first press release. And no, it wasn’t good.

I am old AF.

However, we wanted to share the dangers of writing bad press releases…so I opted to share one of my favorite ones from Cleveland.

Thanks LeBron.

Mid-morning stop as we open our class up for our media panel.

(L to R)

Daily Herald (@dailyherald) Justin Kmitch (@JustinKmitchDH)

NBC Chicago (@NBCChicago) Chris Coffey (@ChrisCoffeyNBC)

WGN News (@WGNNews) Shannon Halligan (@ShanHalligan)

Lots of discussion including field PIO questions, staging areas, no comment, availability, and of course the dreaded “off the record” conversation. These kinds of conversations are incredibly important as we continue to network with others and enhance our relationships with our partners in the media. Also tweeting from the front of the class is totally acceptable too.

We also had some discussion about the outstanding work that the Aurora Police Department did during their active shooter incident in February. Kudos to all involved including the six new Police PIOs who were immediately pressed into service on their first day of being PIOs.

Literally “Learn it today, use it this afternoon.”

I’ve heard some great panel discussions, but the straight forward information in this panel was refreshing and honest.

I even pressed – if a PIO says to you “No comment” how does that make you feel? Justin’s comment was poignant and worth hearing.

Stay tuned for that interview to be published on #MediaMinutes.

We closed out the day reviewing the interviews and had solid conversations around social media.

Special thanks to our Media Panel guests from the media,

Outstanding class with all our participants!

@rusnivek

 

 

FEMA Basic PIO Day-1

Starting off another FEMA G0290: Basic PIO course with our public safety pros from across the state!

I am fortunate to grab a few other PIOs for class today – suit up!

Aside from sharing concepts and theory, we also focused on interview skills…

…you know we did the oncamera interviews.

No bones about it, our mantra is to provide the best real-world training out there.

Lots of discussion on staging as well as single role PIOs and what they can do to get the ball rolling.

We also integrated a few activities and exercises into the mix too.

Don’t worry, we took some time to discuss communications strategies. We shared the 8-step communications model and introduced StratComms!

Planning ahead is always a good thing – esp for PIOs. Preparedness is essential in being a good PIO.

Successful first day with everyone. Looking forward to a solid day-2!

@rusnivek