2019 National Preparedness Symposium Day-2

An incredible Wednesday as we continue our efforts to collaborate here at the 2019 National Preparedness Symposium.

I chatted with Acting FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor on the importance of continuing to build a culture of preparedness and how it is so critical to our audiences.

Super nice guy.

He then popped the morning plenary session to the entire conference and FEMA employees. Huge discussion on our strategic plan and then a few things in his role as a state director he wished he had when he started at FEMA.

Solid insight from the top at FEMA. Nice guy.

Lots of afternoon sessions including one with the National Disaster Preparedness Consortium (NDPC).

Great discussion amongst participants including

  1. Policy/procedure on admittance into courses
  2. Frank discussion on prerequisites for admittance into class
  3. Ongoing class challenges including rostering.

After the NDPC panel discussion was over, I quickly moved a few rooms over to check out a worthwhile discussion on the I–35 bridge and failing infrastructure. Also had some discussion about structural assessments.

Glad to be having ongoing discussions to maintain our critical access points in many cities across the US.

Then it was time to present my course: Social Media in Emergency Management. Woohoo!!!!

Glad to be sharing the knowledge with providers from across the country.

Engaged audience including a few questions on engagement as well as OSINT gathering and augmented reality. Great to peek the interest and maybe MAYBE be that catalyst for change with our industry.

Shout out to Bronlea the n00b as this was her first trip to the Center for Domestic Preparedness!

Looking forward to tomorrow’s FIT class with FEMA Director John Allen.

Reporting live with all the HQ peeps hanging in FEMA Region 4…

@rusnivek

Humans all communicate differently…and speak lego

As human beings, we all communicate differently.

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No seriously, we do. However, if we can find a common language, we can better fulfill our SMART objective, implement our strategies, and of course utilize the right tactics.

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Common language? Yes, we use legos to demonstrate this process.

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Just one of the fun training tabletop exercises we run through during the Command and General Staff Training.

Additionally, I got to talk about preparedness efforts too.

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Fun stuff…doh!

@rusnivek

 

New technologies for NHC #NatlPrep #Hurricane

10 years ago, Hurricane Katrina ravaged the gulf states.

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However, with the advances in technology, the National Hurricane Center has improved their prediction forecast…aka technology has improved to showcase the areas likely to be hit.

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Regardless of your location, please prepare for hurricanes.

Yes, three years ago, I was told “…that will never happen here” and “Stop wasting your time.” Soon after, Hurricane Sandy hit Ohio in 2012.

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Know where to go. If you are ordered to evacuate, know the local hurricane evacuation route(s) to take and have a plan for where you can stay. Contact your local emergency management agency for more information.

No matter where you are, please prepare for hurricanes.

Don’t wait. Communicate. Make your emergency plan today.

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No one wants to be unprepared.

@rusnivek

FireChat – First look 

FireChat – First Look
There has been lots of discussion about mobile message apps using MESH networks. Just like my deployment to Hurricane Katrina/Rita in Louisiana’s Lower 9th Ward, we had no cell service which means no internet. Common in disasters, many startups are looking to bridge that gap using Bluetooth/MESH networking for any type of mobile technology.


MESH networks literally work by using other devices in your general vicinity to relay/transmit data to any available network. Devices can automatically network with each other via flood technique (overwhelming) or routing technique (hardware hoping). To put it into terms that we in government are more used to hearing, this type of networking is considered a mobile ad-hoc network that can operate independently with little or no internet connection.

Some advantages include internet use with at least one actual connection, increasing local networking by locality through mobile hardware, and of course an automatic mobile-to-mobile network.

Some dangers include lack of security, mobile device protection, connection reliability, and as the MESH network grows the more prolonged data delays occur.

Soooooooooooo, just like when ello was released, I downloaded the app and started using it. I engaged with various users over the course of the last 4 weeks. Here’s my notes.

  • GPS data is incorrect. I was in Dallas’ airport and it pegged me in Natchitoches, LA.
  • Bluetooth is another way for MESH networks to communicate but strength of mobile-mobile connections is fleeting/passing in an airport
  • Hyperlinks do work.
  • When you upload a picture, FireChat does NOT give a confirmation message or pop-up that your picture is uploaded (I found this out because I uploaded my picture six times before I realized what was happening). #whoopsies

  • Aaaaand you cannot erase pictures.
  • Users cannot erase comments.
  • Hashtags help users identify topic and discussion.
  • Hashtags are hyperlinked in FireChat to those specific groups.
  • Twitter handles do NOT hyperlink to Twitter accounts
  • Phone numbers hyperlink to phone app (list using xxx-xxx-xxxx). It also works using the xxxxxxxxxx format but it looks cleaner and easier to recite w/ natural “-” breaks.
  • FireChat does not allow cut/paste function.
  • GPS coordinates do not hyperlink to any maps (Apple Maps or Google Maps)
  • USNG does not work either.
  • Refresh rate is slow (when compared to Twitter’s network refreshes faster and is more streaming).
  • In a known dead spot for cell service, MESH network was slow and did not connect to internet.
  • Trolls are rampant and uncontrolled in the main chatroom.
  • Main chatroom has various and NSFW topics.
  • Many users do not identify themselves with a profile picture or descriptor.
  • Many users are using this service as a social network for personal PERSONAL reasons.
  • Bad words are censored on FireChat with “*****”. Unknown what those specific terms are.
  • You can like a comment from others or about yourself. Other users can see that someone has liked the comment/content by the red heart displayed. No amount is quantified. Just one lonely red heart.

If Emergency Management was to use FireChat, designate a specialist to monitor to observe and engage pertinent conversation in main chat room directing them to distinct #group in FireChat.

At this time, I only use FireChat when I’m bored and want to see if they have developed other functionality tools.

Just a few initial thoughts on FireChat.

@rusnivek

Finding alternative solutions to charge your stuff…w/ a 9-volt battery #NatlPrep #Prepared2014

TGI-Friday in this second week in 2014 National Preparedness Month.

“Be Disaster Aware, Take Action to Prepare”

What a week!

This week’s theme is consistent with FEMA’s National Preparedness Campaign: Know How To plan for specific needs before a Disaster.

#12: Finding alternative solutions to charge your cell phone…like charging it with a simple 9-volt battery (video) #NatlPrep #Prepared2014

All you need is your phone, cig plug cable, 9-volt battery, and a simple key.

MacGyver your stuff up!

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By learning alternate ways to deal with power problems, you can easily have uninterrupted cell phone service and power while staying in close communications with your family.

So be creative peeps…and go and find a few 9-volt batteries and test this out.

@rusnivek

Your emergency USB drive #NatlPrep #Prepared2014

It’s the first Friday, the first week of 2014 National Preparedness Month!

“Be Disaster Aware, Take Action to Prepare”

Easy right? My goal is to provide actionable information so that you can better prepare you and your family.

This week’s theme is consistent with FEMA’s National Preparedness Campaign: Reconnect with Family After a Disaster.

#5: Use a small USB drive includes all key emergency documents & family communications plan #NatlPrep #Prepared2014

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These ubiquitous USB drives (aka thumb drives, jump drives, memory sticks, etc…) are so easy to find. Best part? These things are cheap! You can easily find 16G for $2…which is WAY more storage that you’d ever need to store your documents in an emergency.

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What to keep stored on this jump drive? Scanned or digital copies of your:

  • Family Communication Plan (that also includes an out-of-state contact)
  • Driver’s License/State Identification card
  • Passport
  • Social security card
  • Birth Certificates
  • Home Insurance card
  • Auto Insurance card
  • Credit card(s)
  • Copies of a recent bank statements
  • High resolution pictures of your family and individual pictures.

As you pack your one ounce USB drive, don’t forget to put it in an airtight freezer ziplock type bag. Your electronic equipment does not like getting wet.

The cost of these USB drives are so low, that it behooves you to use easy technology now to better leverage your position in a disaster. Because you won’t have time to copy/transfer these documents during a rapid evacuation, now is the time to be prepared.

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Keeping good documentation for your family is one of the most important parts of reconnecting with family during and after a disaster.

@rusnivek

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Multi-purpose binder clips help a lot #NatlPrep #Prepared2014

Rounding the corner through the first week of 2014 National Preparedness Month!

“Be Disaster Aware, Take Action to Prepare”

Of course you need to be prepared right?!?!? My goal is to provide actionable information so that you can better prepare you and your family.

This week’s theme is consistent with FEMA’s National Preparedness Campaign: Reconnect with Family After a Disaster.

#4: Multi-purpose binder clips help keep wires organized for easy visual access to connection points #NatlPrep #Prepared2014

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These office binder clips allow me to keep things organized, clean, stowed neatly, and tied down as I travel around. Additionally, I am able to pair the ends of the cables together so I can immediately see the end attachment points.

(And who doesn’t love binder clips right?)

I have assessed my entire family’s cell phones and mobile devices and found that this lightning cable is needed by everyone. We are an iPhone 5 & 5s family.

Not pictured above, are my micro USB cables which charge other mobile devices. Everyone should plan on supporting power needs for the family’s mobile devices (tablets) and accessories (keyboards).

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Assessing the entire family’s cell phone power needs before a disaster can ensure that your family will remain connected through and after a disaster.

Family first peeps!

@rusnivek

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