3 reasons why you should have a family communications plan #NPM2020 #NatlPrep

Final day of the first week of the 2020 National Preparedness Month. So to close this week out, we are going to talk about your family communications plan…aka comms plan.

No, not that kinda plan.

An essential part of your emergency plan is the easy family communications plan.

WAIT…did you say “I already have their phone numbers in my cell phone. Why do I need anything else?”

<eye roll>

Your memory isn’t that great. You are human. And it’s been proven that during a crisis/duress, your critical skills and ability to recount precise information sucks.

This is precisely why you need a family communications plan.

Technology has proven to fail and fail at critical times in a crisis or disaster. While your cell phone is a critical piece of equipment, there are times where you lose your phone.

Yeah, I know all of you Apple Watch users have used the find my phone feature.

Regularly, we find evacuees after a storm, they report that they do not have good reception or adequate data service for their phones. This renders their phone useless when trying to communicate essential information to loved ones.

And we all know when we lose power to our phones that most definitely eliminate all critical phone numbers, emails, etc…

So three solid reasons why you want to consider having a hard copy family communications plan ready in case of an emergency.

Need some help? Here’s an easy template provided by our Ready.Gov campaign

Click to access Family_Comm_Plan_508_20150820.pdf

 

Easy peasy right?

Do the right thing for the safety of your family.

Reporting live and closing out the first week of the 2020 National Preparedness Month!

@rusnivek

Plan for shelter and outside meeting location with your family #NatlPrep

We’re still in the first week of National Preparedness Month, we need to examine shelter locations. Yes I said planning for shelter locations.

Because if this is your shelter idea…

…you might want to rethink your plan.

If you plan for a proper shelter location WITH your family, you’d likely be rewarded with a more comfortable situation. Food, water, etc….are nice things to have. But the last thing anyone needs during a crisis is more things to think about and burden you down.

No one has time for that!

Ain't Nobody Got Time for That… – Danny Dainton

Interior rooms with no windows is always a good shelter location esp during a tornado strike. Not only is it interior, but you can seek further shelter/cover underneath the counter top.

Nice!

After the danger passes, a simple meeting place outside is a good idea too.It should be a relatively easy to find location that everyone knows and can rally up. Also be identifiable from great distances. Something tall and unique could be used too.

Don’t be the bearer of bad news…make sure everyone knows the plans!

Since most of you are home, consider taking the time to assessing your situation, evaluate your options, and make good decisions. But no matter where it is, be sure to tell the rest of your family where to go in case of emergency.

Plan for stuff to happen right? Just look at us now.

2020 Sucks - Year 2020 - Sticker | TeePublic

Worst. Year. Ever.

Reporting live from the first week of National Preparedness week!

@rusnivek

Sunday streamlining our JIC Ops

Sunday is off to a bang as we need some formality to the process. Revamp what? What does that mean?

<Cue the Hawaiian music in the JIC because we are going to revamp a few things today.>

1. We are going to take a look at the press releases and move them to media alerts…because no one reads press releases anymore. Let’s not waste time and align it to be more factual and numbers. From a PIO perspective, this “trending” is what news outlets are looking for. Big upticks/spikes in numbers.

And in this situation, I doubt they are concentrating at the minutia of individual numbers esp since they are projected to dramatically increase over the next few weeks.

2. Accountability must be improved as we got the formal FEMA Disaster Declaration under the Stafford Act. So everyone gets a T-card and everyone must fill out an ICS-214. That includes me too.

3. Don’t forget to sign in on the ICS-211 form and your T-card is good to go.

4. Get a hard copy of the IAP and read through it. Don’t get caught not knowing the current plan. Maybe…MAYBE use those fancy tactical cargo pockets to hold your IAP (I’m judging).

5. Daily morning briefs with your PIOs….we call them our PIO roll call. Not longer than 10 minutes, allows us to get a handle on our daily activities and allows us to coordinate with each other. SA/COP baby!

I hate to break the news to you but the PIO’s job isn’t easy. So much more work goes behind the scenes and talking on camera is really about 5% of the job. Your main bread and butter work comes from the preparation and planning that goes into that.

Additionally, most reporters aren’t going to catch you live and want to do interviews. This new fangled invention called the cell phone makes it easy to communicate with all your reporters.

I honestly can’t tell you how many phone calls and interviews I did standing in my garage at 11p at night.

Yep, it never ends.

Get some sleep peeps, it’s going to be a long week ahead.

@rusnivek

Drive through testing for Coronavirus #COVID19

Rolling in on a Saturday to the EOC….

Wait a sec…WAIT A SEC….

Did one of our partners get their drive through testing station up and running already?

PIO to SITL: How do copy?

Man, the news is going to be all over this one…

@rusnivek

JIC up and accounting for staff

Oh yes….did someone say the Joint Information Center (JIC)?!?!? BRING. IT. ON. BABY.

Not only are we activating the JIC, we need to keep in track and record of all of our staff/personnel.

As a good PSC, you know I wouldn’t leave home without my trusty T-cards right?

Let’s see how many of my ESF friends will be here with us…

Reporting live from the JIC…

@rusnivek

HD’s CMT = Command and General Staff

As we all settle into a regular cycle of command and general staff meetings, we all try to abide by the social distancing that seems to be setting this response differently than others.

Note: The Health Department calls this their “Crisis Management Team (CMT) – prob better known in the All-hazards world as the Command and General Staff meeting. While lax on the formality, I think our health department would benefit from standardizing this meeting and abide by the guidance provided by the ICS templates on how to run the meetings.

Also, as you can tell, it’s a bit awkward for all of us to sit so far away.

And as we continue to prep and lay the ground work for our ongoing efforts for our communities, Incident Commander sits with the director of the Health Department to lay out our operational response.

Glad to hear Murray say to Karen, “Whatever it takes to support” on this Coronavirus incident.

Now that we are in sync, let’s continue to work the magic.

@rusnivek

FEMA Basic Academy graduation – first one in Illinois

The time has come to welcome all of our graduates of the FEMA Basic Academy here at DuPage County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management!

“This is the first FEMA Basic Academy offered here in Illinois and we are proud to bring this Emergency Management foundation education here to DuPage County.” said Academy Instructor Kevin Sur. “The skills learned during this intensive course from November through March builds the framework for all Emergency Managers combining knowledge of all fundamental systems, concepts, and practices of leading actions for future leaders.”

The course started in November 2019 where participants were exposed to all mission areas including a myriad of case studies that highlighted the importance of collaboration and coordination in the response and recovery phase of any disaster or emergency.

In January 2020, participants took a deep dive into the science of disasters as well as planning to better help and understand the threats and dangers to each of their own communities.

To understand our hazards, we must understand legit science so that we can use the right resources to solve the problem.

The last week in March 2020, the class focused on the hot button topic of Homeland Security Exercise Evaluation Program and the Public Information and Warning course. Special thanks to new FEMA MEPP DuPage County OHSEM Sup Corey Mulryan for teaching with me on this one.

Participants debated the use of mass notification systems, social media in targeting specific audiences, and the value of the Public Information Officer (PIO) who’s role is so vital to the success of the agency.

Proud to be a part of the Instructional delivery team to get this first class here at DuPage County OHSEM.

Who’s who in the zoo? Well, we had participants from 6 different states, 3 different FEMA Regions with a diverse crowd from local, county, state, and Federal partners.

OUTSTANDING!!!!!

As we rolled into the graduation, I was able to make some opening remarks and thanking our most esteemed guests in the room.

Glad to hear from the new FEMA Region V Deputy Regional Administrator Kevin Sligh.

Deputy RA Sligh is a graduate of the program and is proud to see this foundational course being used as the marker of success for local Emergency Managers.

We also got a chance to hear from FEMA Region 5 Training & Exercise Manager Jessica Mitchell on the value of training. She is a proud resident of DuPage County.

And finally, to close things out, ladies and gents….put your hands together for Former IEMA Director and former Director of DuPage OHSEM….FEMA Region V Regional Administrator James Joseph!!!!

@rusnivek = #HypeMan

Great to hear his words of wisdom as his start here at DuPage and move on up has been solid.

Oh yeah…..social media. Yeah, I haven’t been posting a ton of stuff. Been concentrating on instruction and delivering the best class stuff.

Buttttttttttttttttttttttttt since I am one of the few FEMA Master PIOs, I figured it was only appropriate that I take a class selfie right?

#engagement #selfie

But seriously, I’m super proud of all the work that everyone contributed in class.

Lots of love for all of them.

More importantly, I know who I can count on during an activation/disaster.

Rusnivek’s 2020 Objective-1: Instructor certified FEMA Basic Academy – completed.

From the bottom of my heart, mahalos to my colleagues for the support throughout the academy.

Reporting live with a huge smile on my face…..

@rusnivek

L0105: Public Information and Warning

About to start the final day of the FEMA Basic Academy…aka L01015.

As always, a fine welcome from our Emergency Management Director Murray Snow.

Glad to have our staff support this event.

Also even more happy to have so many of our most trusted partners in the audience today as we continue to chat about Public Information and Warning.

Here’s Pete starting up the day.

Lots more as we continue on.

Sabit’s got some big plan for graduation.

Not going to lie….I kinda love it.

More deets on the graduation shortly.

@rusnivek

 

Site visit ending up at AFD Station-8

Is it kinda like the elephant march when we line up ambulances outside?

Overcast dreary morning as we continue to support our public safety pros in the field 24/7. No rest for the weary!

But after Chicago, I was able to switch out to Aurora Station-8 as we discuss some ongoing issues and see how we can creatively explore more training/exercises to increase partnerships/coordination.

Lots of discussion on our ongoing FEMA Emergency Management Basic Academy as we continue to share the good that the DuPage County OHSEM does for all  partners.

Sometimes it’s difficult for people to understand that Emergency Management is a different field than 30 years in the fire service or 30 years at the police department or 30 years working at an EMS service. Definitely not the same.

So in that same vein, we need to tailor our classes and exercises to address the all-hazards approach and address all partners.

We are fortunate that our classes are geared to hit all 15 Federal Emergency Support Functions (ESFs) in accordance with national plans. Our guidance is clear as we align with national doctrine, state grants/guidance, and local response plans to coordinate and execute any needed response plans.

The crux is that Emergency Management in the EOC will be the coordinating entity during any emergency or disaster. Period.

In order for locals to execute, State to manage, and Federal to assist and support, we need to have a firm understanding of what happens every step of the way. I am proud of my staff for taking the time to see these things through and explore options for our public safety pros.

No doubt, these are the kinds of things that make our EM stronger and solid at supporting our peeps 24/7/365. We in Emergency Management must continue to build a rock solid collaborative effort with our key players so that when we need to exercise or execute, we can do it seamlessly.

Special thanks to the men and women at the Aurora Fire Station 8 for their warm hospitality. Looking forward to seeing all of you in class and future exercises.

Reporting live from the bay floors between Truck-6 and Engine-99…I mean Engine-8…

@rusnivek