EAS for closing Chicago lakefront, all parks and beaches, the 606 and the RiverWalk

Got a few more EAS notifications today…this one from Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

Targeting the lakefront, parks/beaches, the 606 trail and Chicago RiverWalk, are now closed. Dang it.

Hoping these preventive measures help reduce the spread of Coronavirus.

Sigh, it’s going to be a long spring huh?

@rusnivek

 

Sunday full press conference with leadership

Sunday funday right? #PIO

Looks like we got a prime spot for our presser today. Flag is up so let’s do this.

Assigned: Sunday Press Conference with senior leadership from County Health Department and County Chairman.

Me? I definitely burned the midnight oil but talking points all done. All reviewed and approved.

Let’s get this started because it looks like all my media friends are here. Welcome media partners!

Getting that angle just right….

But don’t forget, pic or it didn’t happen right?

And it’s Sunday so I didn’t a tie was necessary.

So let’s not delay.

Thanks to the friends at NBC5 Chicago for the live streaming of the presser.

Successful press conference with a few issues to review.

Shared learning points:

  • Trust your more seasoned PIOs to make solid strategic decisions.
  • Don’t be star-struck with national news media.
  • Lack of hard copy printing caused some hiccups.
  • Lack of skills will be very apparent within a few minutes of operation.
  • Lots to work through as this response will be a long response and even longer recovery.

Moving into the role of External Affairs Officer starting tomorrow. Likely turning on the lights for the Joint Information Center (JIC) too.

Hope your Sunday was good.

Reporting live from the presser….

@rusnivek

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

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 allĀ  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

Day-2 of FEMA ICS-300 here at FEMA Region V in Chicago

More fun as we continue through day-2 of ICS-300 at FEMA Region V.

Today’s convo will be dominated by the Planning P and how integral the cycle is to our operational rhythm in the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) or the Joint Field Office (JFO).

Also a great time to talk about resources and the need for more as we progress along in the disaster. As you know, ordering stuff (single point vs multi point) isn’t easy, accounting for the resource, tasking the resource, and justifying the resource is harder than it looks due to the restrictions that inbound resources have. As always, great discussion today from all participants!

Throwing the shaka cause I know tomorrow is AlohaFriday!

Reporting live from FEMA Region V!

@rusnivek

FEMA + Region V + ICS-300 = Meeee!

Good morning FEMA Region V!

Time to get my ICS-300 on because I am teaching ICS-300 with one of my Plans Section Chiefs Mark Ballard!

This one is an all Federal class here as we serve our DHS partners and various other organizations in learning about the Incident Command.

You know what day it is. On Wednesdays, we wear pink.

Reporting live from the FEMA RV RRCC…

@rusnivek

Why is my mailbox OOS?

For those that inquired about mailboxes on the marathon route, this is what typically happens a week before the race.

Sometimes, the USPS actually removes them.

For Emergency Managers, this is just one of the many tasks that need to get completed prior to the start of the big events…however, think about the logistics of any large sized item along the 26.2 mile race. Think about the logistics of removing them and the coordination.

Now you see why it’s so important to have an Emergency Operations Center?

@rusnivek

Downburst with Thunderstorm at the EOC

Sometimes Mother Nature just wants to remind you of her power. Work this morning was a bit different as we saw the true power of how powerful a simple downburst can be.

As you can see, these gigantic trees were no match for the winds in excess of 50mph.

Like a pair of sticks, this thicc tree was split at the base, the thickest strongest point.

Dayum.

To give you some perspective of the size, take a look at this picture. See that Chief wearing the white shirt behind the tree? Yeah, that’s a big tree.

Keep in mind, there are two gigantic trees that instantly fell within seconds.

As you can see, our top notch ESF-03: Public Works pros are already at it with their chainsaw gang clearing priority paths for critical access.

For more detailed information on this downburst with severe thunderstorms, here’s the direct link to NWS-Chicago’s report: https://www.weather.gov/lot/2019Jul02_Severe

Stay safe and heed all the warnings of local public safety agencies.

@rusnivek

DuPage County partners w/ OHSEM to lead the way with Outdoor Weather Event & Planning TableTop Exercise

As our office continues to work the magic for all of our partners in public safety, today we continue to rollout the new Event Ready Weather Decision toolkit that helps any agency with critical command decisions.

Our office has worked closely with the National Weather Service Chicago in developing this process.

And of course to pair with the class, we have a Outdoor Event Planning TableTop to help concrete the points to all participating agencies.

Not only developing, but making sure that the information is compliant….

…like HSEEP compliant TableTop exercise compliant.

That’s right – welcome to the #EmergencyManagement pros!

Success? Does it work? Hellz yeah it works! Just ask Lombard’s PIO Avis Meade who used this planning guide for their 2019 Lilac Parade.

Their actions based on NWS Chicago data and critical command decisions likely saved lives as severe weather rolled into the area with an exposed and completely vulnerable population.

Let me say that again, the planning and preparedness efforts from everyone in Lombard saved lives.

Let me translate that for you (think FEMA Core Capability): Sharing good info (Intelligence and Information Sharing), working closely with local, county, and state partnerships (Operational Coordination), and known trusted information (Public Information and Warning)

Decisions made in advance with partnerships with the local National Weather Service can save lives?!?!? YES IT CAN!

In Emergency Management, our decisions are collaborative and based on a combination of historical data and past industry practice. This is what Emergency Management is all about. Repeat after me: Planning and Coordination. Planning and Coordination.Planning and Coordination.Planning and Coordination.

I am proud to be a small part of many agencies doing the right thing for communities across this county and this great country.

Me? You know, I’m always willing to serve.

@rusnivek