Site visit ending up at AFD Station-8

Is it kinda like the elephant march when we line up ambulances outside?

Overcast dreary morning as we continue to support our public safety pros in the field 24/7. No rest for the weary!

But after Chicago, I was able to switch out to Aurora Station-8 as we discuss some ongoing issues and see how we can creatively explore more training/exercises to increase partnerships/coordination.

Lots of discussion on our ongoing FEMA Emergency Management Basic Academy as we continue to share the good that the DuPage County OHSEM does for all  partners.

Sometimes it’s difficult for people to understand that Emergency Management is a different field than 30 years in the fire service or 30 years at the police department or 30 years working at an EMS service. Definitely not the same.

So in that same vein, we need to tailor our classes and exercises to address the all-hazards approach and address all partners.

We are fortunate that our classes are geared to hit all 15 Federal Emergency Support Functions (ESFs) in accordance with national plans. Our guidance is clear as we align with national doctrine, state grants/guidance, and local response plans to coordinate and execute any needed response plans.

The crux is that Emergency Management in the EOC will be the coordinating entity during any emergency or disaster. Period.

In order for locals to execute, State to manage, and Federal to assist and support, we need to have a firm understanding of what happens every step of the way. I am proud of my staff for taking the time to see these things through and explore options for our public safety pros.

No doubt, these are the kinds of things that make our EM stronger and solid at supporting our peeps 24/7/365. We in Emergency Management must continue to build a rock solid collaborative effort with our key players so that when we need to exercise or execute, we can do it seamlessly.

Special thanks to the men and women at the Aurora Fire Station 8 for their warm hospitality. Looking forward to seeing all of you in class and future exercises.

Reporting live from the bay floors between Truck-6 and Engine-99…I mean Engine-8…

@rusnivek

Big cameras vs phones?

Sunday reflection – just some quick screen shots of the ongoing press conferences from the back on the rotorwing aircraft crash in CA. Take a look.

Do you see it?

Count how many phones vs big cameras.

Amazing to see the change in technology as we move from

My PIO observations

  • Try your best to make room for those reporters w/ phones only. Obviously, they can’t pool, so maybe a stand for video.
  • Media should be considerate of the notification of next of kin. Loved ones should NEVER find out of death from media reports.
  • Malt boxes are nice for secure locations, but likely in an outside field setup (like this one), it might not be possible.
  • At the close of the presser, clearly state the time of the next press conference so that media will have a good idea what info will be delivered and of your partners on what to prepare.
  • In the mass/swarm of the location, consideration to elevate your primary talent. If that’s not possible, perhaps give them some room around the podium to deliver message.

Good work on an undoubtedly difficult incident.

@rusnivek

 

A few moments with my favorite JIC Managers

A glimmering light of happiness as I got a chance to spend a few moments with my favorite Joint Information Center (JIC) Managers Beth DeJesus and Erica Creech.

(L to R): Beth DeJesus, Kevin Sur, and Erica Creech. Photo cred: EllaMonster

Beth and Erica were my JIC Managers throughout the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Additionally, Beth was the Cleveland JIC Manager during the December 2016 Christmas plane crash out of Burke. Erica was my JIC Manager during the 2014 Ebola case in Cleveland, 2012 Hurricane Sandy Response, and the 2013 three girls missing in Cleveland case.

During our quick meet up, we talked about work/careers and ongoing efforts. And yeah, they tried to get me to move back to Cleveland.

But most importantly, we talked about family, kids, and the things that really mattered. Hard to believe but this PIO thing isn’t easy and in leadership roles, it’s hard to find people/friends who truly understand the complexities of the position and can sympathize in the daily challenging situations. We all have armor, we just need to decide how long we wear our protective gear.

Just like back in the day, we were able to slot back into our normal self and the redic things that come with Emergency Support Function ESF-15. I miss that kind of camaraderie and the cohesive bonds we shared with so many of our public safety partners from across the state.

Yeah, I miss my favorite JIC Managers…

@rusnivek

 

FEMA OEMA JIC/JIS Course today

Starting out the day with the FEMA OEMA G0291: JIC/JIS course.

So glad to see Father Fire….I mean Chief Warner….I mean Captain Warner here at the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.

While wearing a different hat, we can confidently say that no matter what uniform we wear, our efforts to protect our community goes beyond just the normal 8-5 job. It truly is a calling for public safety pros to serve their community.

While in module-3, we had a reporter from Cleveland-19 Action News WOIO show up here to do an interview with one of our participants in the class – the Lake County (Ohio) Sheriff Frank Leonbruno.

Solid, poised…

…and deliberate words for the current situation. Well done Sheriff!

<Must have had good PIO instructors huh?>

Fortunately, Cleveland 19 News Reporter Kendall Forward and Videographer Marty DeChant had a few minutes to spare as they were kind enough to share their thoughts on PIO interactions with public safety PIOs.

(L to R): Kendall Forward, Steve Bosso, Kevin Sur, and Marty DeChant

(L to R): Kendall Forward, Steve Bosso, Kevin Sur, and Marty DeChant

And since I had them with us, I had to ask my favorite question: On the record? Is that really true?

The afternoon provided us the opportunity to bring everyone together in the JIC scenario and collaboration with all attendees. This class addresses various participants but making it all work is the hallmark of Phil Politano’s vision – all culminating in the joint press conference.

Shout out to all participants in this week’s class. Proud of the work you’ve done as well as the contributions to your community.

Welcome to the world of PIO!

 

More importantly, I am glad to see so many familiar faces this week.Seeing all of you leading your respective departments is inspiring as I truly can say “I knew you when…”

Go forth and Tweet good stuff!

@rusnivek

 

 

City of Chicago OEMC, JIC, PSAP, and other stuff while hanging in the Bat cave

Good morning from the City of Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications!

Located in the heart of the west loop, this multi functional location serves as a focal point for City EOC, JIC, Snow Command, PW EOC, Ops Center, 911 PSAP, etc….basically, I’m glad it’s a hardened facility.

Today’s Emergency Management topics have to deal with Disaster Assistance and Public Assistance. Hiya Wendellllllllllllllllllllllllll.

Of course, as a good Emergency Manager, we want to take a look at the host city’s EOP.

Lots to discern and digest from our partners.

Now, for those who refuse to share information and hold information tight to their chest….that’s dumb. You realize when the big one hits, your isolationist actions will prove to be detrimental to the success of the response/recovery of any emergency. Again, work closely with your partners BEFORE a disaster.

Looking down into the PSAP center floor, lots of call takers working the good for the community.

PSAPs and EOCs are kept relatively dark to help with eye strain. Telecommunications have a tough job. If you haven’t already done so, I’d recommend that you sit in their chair one day and observe. Quite honestly, I’d take working the squad any day.

Quick look into the City of Chicago’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) too.

And calm yourself PIOs….I found it.

Get your City of Chicago Joint Information Center (JIC) on baby! I sense I will be spending activation time here soon.

And yes, I’m wearing a tie.

As we close out response/recovery discussions for the day, we must spend more time thinking about cross training and enhancing our multi-jurisdictional skills. Working together is critical to any event or incident. We must overcome the stigma and the predisposed notion of kingdoms and fiefdoms. We must work together before a disaster. This will result in better response collaboration and recovery efforts.

Where am I? They threw up the bat signal so….

Reporting live from the Bat Cave:

I’m Batman….I mean @rusnivek

2019 National Preparedness Symposium (Day-1)

Early morning start to this Tuesday waiting for clearance from tower.

But before you know it, we are off heading 150 to the 2019 National Preparedness Symposium!

Awwwww yeah, training & exercises and all the FEMA peeps in one place here at the Center for Domestic Preparedness in Alabama!

Started off with a talk from the National Integration Center on the new National Response Framework and Community Lifelines.

Chad walked us through soooooo many programs that Doc talked about previously. Glad to see his work has carried through to inspire a new generation of Emergency Managers.

Continued with spirited discussion from my friends at FEMA EMI on the ongoing efforts for the Emergency Management Professional Program.

Lots of recs on what to take and complete as they could (hint hint) require this for EMPG grant funding employees. Yes that’s right, they can mandate these courses to qualify for grant funds.

So yeah, I’d suggest you get on those courses right away.

Then we hopped deep into a FEMA Region 5 meeting w/ our partners from Ohio, Indiana, Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, and of course Illinois. Overview of exercises “Basically, June is going to be insane.”

Grrrrreat.

Then, it happened. One of the Training & Exercise Managers called me out as “The Legend! We have a picture of you on our wall!”

Me: Blush

Joliet Fire Deputy Fire Chief gave us the biggest shoutout as they said to the entire region “Did you know DuPage trained all the Aurora Police PIOs? Their first day of the job was the day they had that shooting.”

Either way, it was good to report out for DuPage County OHSEM and their significant efforts in training for all provides from across Illinois.

And of course got a chance to see a few familiar faces in the crowd from Rhode Island, Vermont, Texas, California, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Tennessee, New York, Kentucky, Louisiana, and of course Illinois.

Great to catch up to FEMA Region 8 James Taylor who served as my Disaster Recovery Center Manager during Hurricane Irma for the Florida Keys.

Glad to hear he is doing well.

Proud to see soooooooo many old disaster friends too.

Looking forward to hearing from Acting Administrator Pete Gaynor tomorrow morning as he will surely touch on our strategic mission objectives as well as building out a culture of preparedness.

Follow the hashtag used: #NPS19

Reporting live from the CDP….

@rusnivek

Forming the proverbial PIO Voltron for today’s FEMA JIC/JIS course

And now starting the FEMA JIC/JIS Course with our class here at the Defiance County EMA Emergency Operations Center.

And yes, if you’ve been in a JIC/JIS class w/ me before, you know I talk about Voltron. In the FEMA Basic PIO Course, we teach you to be an individual PIO and function with limited options…however, the JIC/JIS course allows you to join forces with other PIOs and work the magic despite being from different backgrounds and different factions for the emergency or disaster. That’s right-we can all get along in the JIC.

Starting out the day with a cold reality check on expectations and capabilities as we assess our options and ready our agencies for disasters. It would be a good idea to have a clear understanding of the situation and build from there.

Additionally, we bring our all-hazards partners into the fold. Here’s Sister Michael Marie talking about the complexities of what appears as a simple emergency that could quite result in bringing soooooooooooooooooooooo many partners to respond to this typical emergency.

Drawing too simple for you?

You need more description?

NO SOUP FOR YOU!

The whole point of the exercise is to get your mind thinking about various options as well as partners to call early as likely, they have a dog in the fight to help any affected community recover from any disaster.

Look, it’s more than Fire, Police, and EMS – it’s the #WholeCommunity to build a culture of preparedness.

Proud of every single one of these participants as everyone walked away with a new understanding and respect for the PIO. While some have been on TV before w/ a few interviews, all of them realize the dangers of an unprepared interviewee.

Looking forward to working with all of you on the next big one. And just think…in the midst of a disaster, you just might see these two smiling faces.

Now, go forth and use your new PIO powers for good!

@rusnivek