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

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

Internal Comms training for my #EmergencyManagement staff

As we continue our training, we want to be cognizant of all kinds of skills needed to be successful in Emergency Management.

Many of you have been apart of a training or exercise…and have indubitably identified that communications is an action that needs more work. But how can you make that fun? Well, enter one of my Thunderbolt-esque exercises.

Giving the nod to former FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, these types of no-notice trainings engage our staff and forces them to think outside the box.

How outside? In this exercise, we cover

  • Communications
  • Type/Kind resources
  • Staging
  • Incident Command
  • Terminology
  • Nomenclature
  • Scene size-ups
  • Operations
  • Sequential
  • Prioritization
  • Ordering
  • Tactics

And to boot, it’s non-traditional training cause there are no powerpoints. Zero. Zilch. No joy. Gonzo. Nada Ghostrider.

As adult educators, we often forget that people learn things differently. Additionally, we as instructors need to explore outside our comfort zone and teach things in a classic lecture AND non-traditional style.

I am incredibly fortunate to have a staff that loves to train and enhance their skills. Train like you fight!

Want to know more? Want to train better? Come and be a part of my Emergency Management Team. You’ll see.

@rusnivek

ICS 300 for the Illinois Air National Guard 182nd Airlift Wing

Solid start to our FEMA IEMA DuPage County OHSEM’s ICS-300 class this morning with the Illinois Air National Guard with a welcome from Fire Chief Otto.

Making sure our DoD assets have the same training provides us an opportunity to have consistent interagency coordination in any disaster.

Group work provides a great chance to integrate various agencies and work into scenarios. Great dialog from all participants.

Since the 182nd is part of the Air Mobility Command, we also included several table tops to help incorporate the air branch for response logistics.

Incident command can be used anywhere…esp with prioritizing resources and supporting those who need critical needs from across the state and nation.

Great collaboration amongst all participants in preparation of disaster response challenges for all agencies involved. The time to discuss these issues is now in a bright lights classroom.

If you wait till the disaster, your poor decisions in crisis could be a disaster itself. So foundational multiagency training before a disaster is soooooo critical.

Proud to be here serving those who serve our country.

Many thanks to the hospitality from everyone here at the base.

Reporting live from the 182nd Airlift Wing…

@rusnivek

Brand new FEMA Region V COOP class Day-1

Kicking off the new FEMA Region 5 Continuity of Operations class here at the DuPage County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

Proud to have Northwestern Medicine’s Continuity Manager Sam Boyle and DuPage County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Operations Supervisor Joe Joseph with us to share some of the changes with FCD-1, FCD-2, CC-1, HSPD5, PPD-8, NSPD-51, HSPD-20, and of course the NIMS update.

Mid-day discussion with Joe on the Continuity planning process with the new FEMA course materials for COOP focused around essential functions.

Look at those smiles!

All made to enhance the skills of our public safety partners.

Shout out to all the leadership and participants who took the time away from their desks to enhance their program’s ability to function beyond catastrophic incidents.

Also, for those that were paying attention on the day? Is it really the perfect date?

Hmmmm…

Boom.

COOP? Operations? Social Media? Public Information? Pop culture? Everything is a calculated because even in a FEMA class, we don’t miss a beat!

Welcome to my program. This is how we do things at our house.

@rusnivek