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

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

National Preparedness Symposium Day-3

Final day of the 2019 National Preparedness Symposium here at CDP! Lots to share as we open up the day with a long talk on cyber.

Hint to Emergency Managers, Cyber is the sexy incident now…so I suggest you plan and design with your training manager now. Yep, you heard me right, cyber = sexy.

Noooooooow switching from cyber to FIT – because we will all get a FIT!

Here to listen in on the deets for the FEMA Integration Teams (FIT) from my FEMA LNO in Hurricane Irma, ladies and gents, put your hands together for…….. John Allen!!!!!

John Allen, better known as FEMA’s Director of Preparedness Integration and Coordination out of HQ has been point person for this effort started when previous FEMA Administrator Brock Long started.

This program imbeds FEMA Planners at specified locations to support all state, local, tribal, and territory (SLTT) partners. Rollout has been ongoing as this is a phased effort. Many of the 56 FITs are not staffed yet.

Also fortunate to have one of the FIT Leads with us from Idaho – hiya Justin!

Great to see that kind of partnerships on all levels including building confidence in the SLTT’s efforts. The most beneficial aspect of the program would be that the FIT can provide RRCCs and NRCC accurate SA/COP for real-time operational assessment and needs. So more than just an FEMA LNO, these FITs are able to integrate and provide immediate support.

But truth be told, the FITs are really integrated into their community as they live there. They work there. They are part of the response, recovery side of any event or incident that state may have. Great idea!

Me? I’m totes interested.

Riding on the wave of productivity, we popped back into our regional groups again and talked about our lessons learned from this symposium.

We discussed at length how we can help each other under blue/grey skies time…and really support each other during event/disasters.

Here’s a little behind the scenes of the group. Everyone participated including solid contributions from our tribal partners.

After all, isn’t that the mantra of Emergency Management? Building relationships before a disaster?!?!? See, even the pros practice what we preach!

In breaking for lunch, I know many of you remember taking IS-100, IS-200, IS-700, IS-800 and remember this slide.

I wanted to dispel the rumor, that is NOT me.

Saw a few of the FIWA folks in the hall and thanked them for their help during our MRTs as well as our pre-disaster deployment support prior to Irma. While there, I had them check my FEMA phone and tuned up. They reminded me that I still needed to do my yearly compliance training on “Security Awareness”

#whoops

As the symposium closed out, we had the color guard from the Anniston Police stop by to retire the colors.

Everyone who attended work tirelessly in protecting our nation from emergencies and disasters. We all believe in helping out and supporting all our communities because a prepared nation is a more resilient nation.

On the door step of the Memorial Day weekend, we all pause to remember those who have given the ultimate sacrifice to protect everyone in this great nation.

Be safe out there folks!

Reporting live from the 2019 National Preparedness Symposium…

@rusnivek

Day-2 of the new FEMA Region V COOP Course

Starting off day–2 of the new FEMA COOP class.

Solid discussion lead by Northwestern Medicine’s Continuity Manager Sam with our all-hazards pros on alternate locations including cold, warm, and hot EOCs.

Not only locations, but also triggers on when to move emergency operations centers. These kinds of discussions also spark debate on levels of activation as well as essential personnel. We openly discuss triggers and standards that help make it easy for COOP Managers and leadership to roll out their continuity plan.

As we identify specific incidents and actions needed, we can also assess viability of personnel and staff….ESSENTIAL staff to these secure national COOP locations like

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Additionally, we focus in on the importance of not only writing a plan, but also exercising a plan. Good dialog w/ Joe on the city of Aurora’s exercise plans.

While not as sexy as response or even preparedness, these kinds of continuity exercises test recovery. Can’t begin to tell you how important that is to your constituents esp when things are going to 💩. Catastrophic planning is only as good as your last exercise – trust me, when faced with crisis, people will not always do the most common sense thing.

Why is our agency leaning in on the COOP stuff? Well, if all goes according to my plan, we should have at five (5) Master Continuity Practitioners on our staff. Awwwww yeah!

As we close up, Sam leads the post test wrap up to evaluate that level II retention that FEMA EMI loves.

In the end, when you see the participants smiling and hearing their responses in how they are going to directly implement these new rollouts and changes to the plans….is so gratifying.

I am proud of the work we do in Emergency Management. As an instructor I expect a lot out of you. And your students most definitely do too.

As an instructor, your influence to your participants can generate enthusiasm beyond expectation. Dedication is critical to the success of your mission. I am thankful for all the smiles in our FEMA Region 5 COOP class on this #AlohaFriday.

@rusnivek

Crisis Comms meetings at ARC Chicago

Afternoon meetings with the Communications team with the Red Cross of Chicago!

Case studies? Social media? Response training? Media training? Yeppers, all of that stuff for for the L-team to boots-on-the-ground staff.

Looking forward to some upcoming Crisis Comms training with all their staff.

@rusnivek