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

Breaking news from the official State of Columbia PIO… #APIO

Wait a second…WAIT A SECOND!!!!

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2020 FEMA Advanced PIO class. Photo cred: TheGabeLugo

Is that the State of Columbia Public Information Officer making a solid appearance at the 2020 January FEMA EMI Advanced PIO class?!?

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OMG~!!! I’m #famous

“I’d like to thank the support of the State of Columbia Governor Düsseldorf (aka Maryland EMA PIO Ed McDonough) for his unwavering support through these years as the State of Columbia PIO…”

Special thanks to Super CCN Reporter Mr. LukeSkyWatcher on his outstanding stories on this evolving incident here in Central City and Emerald City in the State of Columbia.

Photo cred: Niki Bender (@NikiBender)

“We vow to work the recovery for our cities, who are the true beating heart of our State of Columbia. We will dedicate resources to strengthen and rebuild affected areas. Together, we will continue to build a prepared and resilient nation.”

I’ll take a few questions at this time….

@rusnivek

Honoring the life of Phil Politano #TakeNotes #PolitanoStrong

My thoughts today is with my FEMA PIO colleagues in Emmitsburg, Maryland – honoring the life of my friend Phil Politano.

2018 FEMA Master Public Information Officer (MPIO) Cohort-1

2018 FEMA Master Public Information Officer (MPIO) Cohort-1

If you had any part in DHS/FEMA Public Information Officer Program anywhere in the country, you received Phil’s knowledge of External Affairs. That’s right, if you’ve attended courses like

  • G0289: PIO Awareness course
  • G0290: FEMA Basic PIO course
  • G0291: JIC/JIS course
  • E0388: Advanced PIO course
  • E0389: Master PIO Course

…you’ve been impacted by Phil’s noggin and course design.

Now previously, I’ve already talked about Phil’s knowledge and his legacy here. But it is worth noting that he was the one that handed me my FEMA Master PIO certificate.

I wish I was assigned there this week Phil.

Outstanding life Phil. No doubt, we will continue to carry your legacy on.

Phil-we will definitely #takenotes.

@rusnivek

Day-1 of the FEMA OEMA Basic PIO Course

Day-1 of the FEMA OEMA Basic Public Information Officer course here at Lake County EMA!

With a welcome from Joe and the gang here in Lake County.

For those wondering, how close are we to the nuclear EPZ?

Yeah, real close.

So let’s hit this PIO stuff!

Like all PIO classes, we hit the basics of being a PIO as well as what one can do with a few others tips as the emergency situation gets more complex.

And since we love the real-time training, we pull all participants into the mock interviews.

Awwww yeah, no hiding in our class.

Outstanding first day with all participants from across the state from various public safety agencies including Fire, EMS, Police, Emergency Management, Amateur radio, and other government services.

@rusnivek

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