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

FEMA Basic PIO Day-1 at Summit County (OH) Public Health

Another fine start to the FEMA Basic Public Information Officer class here in Summit County, Ohio!

Many thanks to the pros at the Summit County Health Department who are hosting this week’s class.

Outstanding hospitality as always!

And of course special thanks to Jena Beckett and the team from Summit County EMA for enhancing their team’s knowledge on the fun of being a Public Information Officer!

We are in the command room this week so you know it’s serious!

As always, we lay the groundwork for successful operations for any PIO.

But we also share real-world experiences that could help in their daily routines to better their visibility. And yes, of course we still do all the media mock interviews.

Public health is a great partner when it comes to outbreaks and opioid intervention tactics so many of our participants opted to test their media skills on an outbreak and response.

Also great to have former Columbus newsies Rachel Feeley on our PIO side (now with Ohio Department of Health) as we continue our mock interviews for everyone.

See, deep down inside, some reporters want to be public safety PIOs. 🤣

For those newly assigned PIOs, we get them on camera as soon as possible!

The whole idea is that we expose new PIOs to this kind of media interview(s) so they aren’t shocked the first time they do it in real life. It’s always a bit more nerve racking when you are n00b PIO and have a bunch of mics and high intensity lights shoved in your face during the start of a major disaster or crisis.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand finally, a big shout out to my team across this great nation as FEMA turns 40 this week!

Here’s a quick video that External Affairs put together.

Proud to work along side all of you through countless disasters.
@rusnivek

Preparedness efforts – continuing to build a Culture of Preparedness

Day-2 teaching at the Effingham County (Illinois) Emergency Operations Center on Preparedness for senior caregivers.

Great discussion from participants from all over the State of Illinois including various Emergency Management, Health Departments, Public Information Officers, Non-governmental organizations (NGOs), public works, communications, law enforcement, fire departments, hospitals, and emergency medical services.

Great to share and continue to enhance the capabilities of communities across this great nation which include DHS/FEMA, but also our local/state partners, private sector, and all citizens.

As usual, we are all proud to continue build our Culture of Preparedness.

@rusnivek

Instructing FEMA NDPTC Winter Weather Hazards at Effingham County EOC #Illinois

Starting out the morning in Illinois at the Effingham County Emergency Operations Center!

Glad to see sooooo many smiling faces here to learn about preparedness and science with our efforts to better prepare our public safety partners on winter weather hazards.

And sharing how critical the National Weather Service is to our daily response and every single Emergency Operations Center is essential for all professionals in any emergency. No matter where you are in the US, there is a NWS office to support your daily operations.

Sharing important information on the science of weather including how to discern these crazy charts, graphs, and data make it easier to understand how tough meteorologists have it when trying to forecast the weather.

And sharing real case studies and discussion the evolution of how response officials work together is critical for any community across this great nation.

Teaching at Effingham County helped me realize they got some really cool stuff here (aka Emergency Management toys resources!)

Special shout out to Pam and the entire crew at Effingham County EMA as well as everyone in Illinois Region-9.

Looking forward to seeing all of you at the next big one!

@rusnivek

Monday = Debris Management!

Starting out this week talking about Debris Management and the importance of Public Works and Logistics!

Yeah, doesn’t seem like a fun topic right? But if you look at the real deal, this is how Emergency Managers earn their keep. Cause it’s not in the response phase.

Emergency Managers work the magic in the recovery phase.

Collaboration in class means that we hash out a few issues prior to the actual disaster.

Working closely with all factions in government will ensure a smooth response from everyone involved.

The faster you get your community back on track, the better your community will be. Building resilient communities is critical!

You should address 10 major factors as part of your debris plan.

Is this difficult? Most definitely. Here’s a picture from the USVI in 2017.

Here’s a picture from the USVI in November 2018.

Can you think of any planning challenges? Any logistical issues? Any major environmental issues?

If you said a million yeseseses to the above three questions, you need to address your debris management plan with your Emergency Management official.

Special mahalos to my Co-instructor Ben.

Sharing a few stories about counter intelligence, we realize it’s a really small world.

@rusnviek

FEMA OEMA G0291: Joint Information Center/System class at the Cleveland EOC! #PIO

Happy AlohaFriday and a great start to the FEMA OEMA G0291: Joint Information Center / Joint Information System course here at the Cleveland EOC!

So naturally, we talked a bunch of JIC stuff including our third guest VIP – day shift Cleveland JIC Manager of the 2016 RNC and the led JIC Manager of the Christmas plane crash in 2016, Beth Zietlow DeJesus!!!

Not only sharing stories about coordination amongst local, county, and Federal agencies on the recovery process, Beth was able to share a few stories about the media on controlling the message and handling mis-information.

Great experiences to share with out new PIOs!

Outstanding class this week. Proud of the work and collaboration in class shared by everyone. Great to see these new PIOs as they increase their organization’s visibility.

Now go forth, and use your new PIO skillz for good!

Also, yeah.

@rusnivek

Day-2 of the FEMA OEMA G0290: Basic #PIO at Cleveland EOC

Day-2 of the FEMA Basic PIO Course in Cleveland, Ohio!!! Starting out the day with one of the best JIC Managers in the biz, ladies and gents, one of the orig FEMA Master PIOs put your hands together for ERICA CREECH!!!!!

Sharing her experiences with the class on PIOs and coordination was critical in countless EOC and JIC activations.

In a heartbeat, I’d work for Erica any day in the JIC.

Don’t worry, we jumped back on the train (FEMA’s powerpoint slides) to talk and debate about press releases.

Since Steve is from media, he loves his inverted pyramid. But are press releases valuable? Needed? Seems we had quite the spirited discussion on the necessity and timely appeal of press releases.

After lunch, we were fortunate enough to grab, IMHO, the best of the best media talent in Cleveland.

Fox8: Jennifer Steer (@jensteer)

WOIO-19: Chris Tanaka (@Chris_Tanaka)

WEWS-5: Homa Bash Ball (@HomaBashWEWS)

WKYC-3: Barry Wolf (@photowolfTV)

Cleveland PlainDealer: Ginger Christ (@GChristCLE)

These pros not only talk a good game, but their social media skills are top shelf! I submit to you Barry’s fashion selfie from the front of the room.

Solid!

These folks were able to dedicate their time to answer any I mean ANY questions that our new PIOs had.

Proud to see new relationships and transparency with all parties involved.

Why? We hear of soooo many bad interactions and exchanges with the media. This kind of engagement showcases that if we work together and we share our knowledge of ongoing issues, we can help each other out.

I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am to see this kind of action happening in class.

Like nurturing new PIOs and helping them network…OMG THIS IS WHAT EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT IS ALL ABOUT!!!!!!!!

Yeah yeah, I’ll get off the soapbox now.

But seriously, this media panel has been one of my absolute favorites to have because….well, because of this…

Brah, Tanaka’s got some seriously good selfie skillz. Many mahalos to all of my media panel that showcased the best of TV news media.

After the media panel left, we reviewed all of our on camera interviews.

Sharing our challenges but learning from others in a productive and positive way increases participant on camera skills.

To close out the day, we also had our second and most lauded PIO stop by. Ladies and gents, the orig filmmaker himself, raise the roof cause it’s Cleveland Fire very own PIO Mike Noooooooooooorman!!!!!!!

Glad to spend a few minutes with fire’s new PIO who jumped head first into the role for CFD. FYI-Mike was a participant in a class that Steve and I taught in Summit County Ohio so we are proud to see him flourishing in his role at CFD.

Outstanding and super fun day with everyone. Back at it tomorrow with another special guest and to talk about JIC/JIS!

@rusnivek