Quick chat with FEMA Deputy Administrator Dan Kaniewski

I was fortunate this week to sit down this week with FEMA Deputy Administrator for Resilience Dan Kaniewski at FEMA HQ.

Dan’s efforts across the country has helped pushed the importance of preparedness and strength for any community. With regular talks on flood insurance and hazard mitigation, his ability to bring pre-disaster planning to the forefront has been solid as we continue to help many communities better prepare for any disaster or emergency.

Dan’s hard fought efforts is not only with government agencies, but various partners in the public and private sector too. The importance of their efforts will only help better their community when disaster strikes.

Glad to see our top brass pushing for more preparedness every single day too.

Reporting live from FEMA HQ…Happy Aloha Friday peeps!

@rusnivek

Are you ready for the 2019 International ShakeOut day?

The International ShakeOut Day is October 17! That’s just t-minus two days away!

To prepare for tomorrow’s earthquake exercise, I wanted to push the preferred infographic that you can use and share with all your constituents.

Hey PIO! Don’t forget that your messaging needs to address all audiences.

Do I practice what I preach? Yep.

And to boot, I also encourage and exercise WITH my fellow class attendees to participate in our class activities too.

Awwww yeah!

Shout out to my friends in San Jose, CA for the great example of earthquake preparedness!

So get yourself ready for some shake-shake action!

@rusnivek

Another FEMA PIO Awareness course in Lake County Illinois

Another fine start to the FEMA PIO Awareness course here at Mundelein Fire Station 1!

Special thanks to DC Brents and the whole crew!

Lots to talk about as we intro the magic of public information to a new class. Of course we had a few words of wisdom from PIO John Nebl.

Great perspective and stories from Schaumburg Police.

If you were wondering, we are in the Emergency Operations Center (EOC)…so that’s a good thing.

Making your peeps train in the location that they would likely be activated to…is a solid practice.

With a diverse class, we are able to cover lots of topics and various situations. The all-hazards nature of this FEMA class allows us to better prepare our PIOs for any emergency.

Additionally, I love to share my experiences from large events and disasters with fellow colleagues from across the State of Illinois.

Training together better prepares us to coordinate and work together before, during, and after an emergency. That’s right, come on in and form Voltron.

Special thanks to all the staff from Mundelein Fire for the warm hospitality to our staff from the DuPage County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

Train like you fight!

@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

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

Day-2 of the FEMA Basic Public Information Officer course here at Defiance County EMA

Day-2 of the FEMA OEMA Basic Public Information Officer course here at Defiance County EMA.

As we start to expand the roles of the PIO, we gotta talk about social media and the impact it has on our every day tasks representing our brand…aka our agency.

Like all info on social media, there’s a ton of things to cover and we won’t be able to talk about ALL platforms. But we can talk about the primary ones that make a difference for any public safety agency.

Also a good time to share one thoughts with you too:

“I don’t care how many followers you have, I care about how you engage all of the followers you do have.” – @rusnivek

Much like Shania Twain, the volume of followers don’t impress me much. What makes a really good social media-er, is how that agency engages with their followers they do have.

I often get asked about in class mock interviews. We still do them as they are incredibly important for participants in a safe learning environment.

But ask any of my participants. They will tell you that it’s pretty real.

Additionally, how I facilitate that part of class nurtures and allows for self-reflection amongst all participants. This ain’t my first rodeo. My peeps are good as we prep them for a really bad day.

Mock press conferences allow our participants to put together a few skills they learned just yesterday.

Just like real press conferences, mock reporters are able to ask questions and test some techniques on running a successful press conference.

The best part?

Participants worked it like pros and did an excellent job in running the pressers! NOOICE!!!!!

Great teamwork and collaboration with everyone here. Strong support network, solid coordination, and nice weather – always a winner!

Proud of the work from everyone in class today.

I’m totes looking forward to tomorrow’s course – FEMA JIC/JIS Course

@rusnivek