Phil Politano 😢

Earlier this week on Thursday, I was informed of the passing of Phil Politano.

😢

Just like the PIO world, the news came with an embargo as I was told to hold on the distro of Phil’s passing until more details were released.

I was not ready to hear this.

Then FEMA EMI pushed the info out.

😞 😔 😢 I’ve known Phil for years. 😢

I cherish all my conversations with Phil, bending his ear on ideas, strategies, and how we can better serve our communities as leaders and still be innovative by stretching and setting the bar higher for others to achieve more.

Phil pushed me to do more.

I openly share info and talk about my duties as a PIO.

Again, Phil pushed me to do more.

I told my story about PIOs and how critical they are to the success of our mission in Preparedness, Response, and Recovery.

Phil said you can empower more.

I increased my exposure and worked/traveled/trained more public safety PIOs across the country.

Phil smiled and said in his loud booming voice, “Well done man!”

Over the years, I have literally trained thousands of pros. There is no doubt in my mind, each one of them knows the importance of getting the right message, to the right, people, at the right time.

Phil’s oversight to my official FEMA PIO duties and actions helped make me a better PIO. He was always watching me.

Phil was always watching what I was doing.

Speaking of watching, I knew Phil was always watching me, this turned into a little game called the SURprise. Here’s one time I SURprised Phil at a secure USCG Base in California.

That was a good one.

Another time, I caught him delivering an exercise inject, eating a salad in the sim cell during a functional exercise.

A salad and Sur…who could ask for anything more!?!?!

<Sigh>

In 2018, Phil handed me my FEMA Master PIO certificate.

<sigh>

I was hoping to catch up to him at the end of the month at EMI. However, it seems that God needed a PIO and Phil got the ultimate deployment resource request.

Gonna miss his booming voice….

Gonna miss that side eye…

Gonna miss that PIO guidance…

I’ll just settle for that award winning PIO smile.

Trust me Phil, I’ll definitely take more notes.

Reporting with tears in my eyes…

@rusnivek

Final day of the FEMA Basic Academy Planning Emergency Operations course

Final day of the FEMA Emergency Management Basic Academy here DuPage County OHSEM. Lots of discussion about EOPs and #THIRA planning.

Enhancing the skills of our most trusted partners from Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Illinois.

More group work as we address planning for our Whole Community response and recovery in this planning class.

Solid collaboration from all public safety representatives from local to Federal level.

Final group activity as we continue to enhance our Emergency Operations Plans.

Lots of discussion on sharing timely and critical information with access & functional needs populations.

Closing out this week’s packed FEMA Basic Academy on Aloha Friday.

Many thanks to local, county, state, and Federal officials/leaders attending representing FEMA Region 5 and FEMA Region 7.

@rusnivek

FEMA Basic Academy Science of Disaster Day-1

Starting out the full second week of the FEMA Basic Academy!

Welcome to DuPage County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management from Director Murray Snow.

Glad to have our partners from NWS Chicago Mike Bardou joining us today too.

Our DuPage resident weather geek….I mean weather enthusiast John Nebl is here to share his weather emergency management knowledge too.

FEMA EMI Instructor Lenora getting into the meat and potatoes as we hit science big time this week.

Do you need the FEMA L0102: Science of Disaster Participant Guidebook?

Download it here –> L0102-ScienceOfDisaster-PG.

And if you were wondering #OOTD…

The socks match the tie.

HA!

Are you in our class this week?

@rusnivek

New ICS 300 and ICS 400 debut tomorrow

Pretty excited to hear about the changes to ICS 300 and ICS 400 tomorrow. I know FEMA EMI has been working hard on these fundamental changes with the ICS structure and command and control.

The last update was really October 2013 so we are totes due for a refresh.

Yeah 2013-2019. Six years isn’t the typical cycle.

This refresh is going to be special as they embody the changes that DHS/FEMA Director of National Integration Doc Lumpkins has set forth in his NIMS refresh.

Proud to carry his work on throughout so many communities across this great country.

@rusnivek

Class comments – Yassssss!

In reviewing my comments from yesterday’s class, I am reminded how much our impact and influence we have as instructors.

This is the reason why we as instructors, educators, and leaders share our experiences.

Without a doubt, there are clear differences between people who read the slides vs instructors who are passionate about improving our field.

It is imperative that we continue to push the envelope as we train and exercise our nation’s public safety professionals. During an emergency or disaster, there is no second chance. The community’s safety is of the utmost importance.

Our dedication to our public safety constituents is neverending and we must strive to be ready for any situation.

This is what we train for…this is what we do.

@rusnivek

Day-2 of the 2018 DHS/FEMA Master PIO

Day-2 of the 2018 Master PIO program and today we talk a bit about leading the future of PIOs nationally. Starting the discussion is USFA Tom Olashanski.

Lots to discuss and help shape the pathway for External Affairs. Everyone here contributing to the body of knowledge and discussing the future.

It’s more than just tools, more than protocols, it’s about how we move the ESF15 portion along and guide others to a successful career to supplement our Incident Commander as well as our mission objectives.

Also had some heated debate on current topics including the EAS system for mass notification.

Definitely the State of Alaska playing a heavy weight on current topics.

On to the presentation part!

So many different things to talk about.

A dynamic group and solid discussion all day and all evening long.

A completely dedicated bunch of peeps for sure!

@rusnivek

Day-1 of the final week of 2018 DHS/FEMA Master PIO class

Day-1 of the 2018 DHS/FEMA Master PIO final week!

And yes, don’t have to look closely, I’m wearing a tie.

Stopping by is my good friend Interim Superintendent Steve Heidecker. Also sharing how proud he is of the staff at EMI and how they are augmenting the disaster response for Hurricane Florence.

Steve is an outstanding guy!

We most definitely had some solid PIO discussions at lunch…

And as you can imagine, with our class being from a bunch of states, we are all ready to enhance the PIO position in the Command and General Staff.

Yep, all smiles as we work through some complex problems for each of our respective jurisdictions.

Lots of great relationships as we plow through Monday of our Master PIO class.

More fun stuff this week!

@rusnivek