COOP kinda day with a unicorn, ARC, and the big DHS IG Pro

Tuesday morning and we’re talking about national continuity!

To some, it may not be exciting. BUT Continuity of Operations (COOP) is so critical to any organization esp to the resilience of any community post-disaster. So I was STOKED to see that I was invited by the National Continuity Division to be a part of the new FEMA COOP class.

And I was even more stoked to be sitting next to the class unicorn.

You see, if we as educators look outside our normal circles and lean on others from various agencies, there is much to learn. We had fine representation from numerous agencies from across the country.

For my lunch meeting I opted for a mini SMEM meetup with the American Red Cross Keith Robertory (@krobertory). We have been following for YEARS but have never met in real life.

Amazing these social media relationships because in our discussion, we have lots and lots in common. Friends, disasters, the list goes on and on…

Speaking of disasters, look who I found….

Streeeeeeeeeeeeeter! Yeah, we kinda twinsies today.

OK, I better get back to class. COOP/COG time!

Reporting live from C Street….

@rusnivek

Monday morning with FEMA HQ staff

Solid Monday morning here at FEMA HQ.

Catching up to a few friends in External Affairs because preparedness doesn’t stop! I knew Jana starting back in the day as we were (and still are) huge advocates for the Ready.Gov Program.

For more details behind the FEMA Ready.Gov program, check out www.ready.gov

And since we are talking about External Affairs, I got a chance to take a deep dive with FEMA External Affairs Director Jessica Nalepa.

Lots of discussion on the complexities of External Affairs and how our actions are so critical in a disaster and of course the public perception. Also lots of discussion on dedication to career and service.

Looking forward to having more discussion with her on how to improve our response and elevate External Affairs for FEMA and the nation.

Suit up because I’m reporting live from Washington DC….

@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

#MediaMinutes interview w/ RTV6 Paris Lewbel

As part of our ongoing efforts to help enhance the skills of the PIO across the country, here’s another #MediaMinutes interview w/ RTV6 Paris Lewbel!

For more information on Paris-

@Twitter: https://twitter.com/PLewbel

@Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/plewbel/

@Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/paris.lewbel

Happy Monday everyone!

@rusnivek

City of Chicago OEMC, JIC, PSAP, and other stuff while hanging in the Bat cave

Good morning from the City of Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications!

Located in the heart of the west loop, this multi functional location serves as a focal point for City EOC, JIC, Snow Command, PW EOC, Ops Center, 911 PSAP, etc….basically, I’m glad it’s a hardened facility.

Today’s Emergency Management topics have to deal with Disaster Assistance and Public Assistance. Hiya Wendellllllllllllllllllllllllll.

Of course, as a good Emergency Manager, we want to take a look at the host city’s EOP.

Lots to discern and digest from our partners.

Now, for those who refuse to share information and hold information tight to their chest….that’s dumb. You realize when the big one hits, your isolationist actions will prove to be detrimental to the success of the response/recovery of any emergency. Again, work closely with your partners BEFORE a disaster.

Looking down into the PSAP center floor, lots of call takers working the good for the community.

PSAPs and EOCs are kept relatively dark to help with eye strain. Telecommunications have a tough job. If you haven’t already done so, I’d recommend that you sit in their chair one day and observe. Quite honestly, I’d take working the squad any day.

Quick look into the City of Chicago’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) too.

And calm yourself PIOs….I found it.

Get your City of Chicago Joint Information Center (JIC) on baby! I sense I will be spending activation time here soon.

And yes, I’m wearing a tie.

As we close out response/recovery discussions for the day, we must spend more time thinking about cross training and enhancing our multi-jurisdictional skills. Working together is critical to any event or incident. We must overcome the stigma and the predisposed notion of kingdoms and fiefdoms. We must work together before a disaster. This will result in better response collaboration and recovery efforts.

Where am I? They threw up the bat signal so….

Reporting live from the Bat Cave:

I’m Batman….I mean @rusnivek

National Preparedness Symposium Day-3

Final day of the 2019 National Preparedness Symposium here at CDP! Lots to share as we open up the day with a long talk on cyber.

Hint to Emergency Managers, Cyber is the sexy incident now…so I suggest you plan and design with your training manager now. Yep, you heard me right, cyber = sexy.

Noooooooow switching from cyber to FIT – because we will all get a FIT!

Here to listen in on the deets for the FEMA Integration Teams (FIT) from my FEMA LNO in Hurricane Irma, ladies and gents, put your hands together for…….. John Allen!!!!!

John Allen, better known as FEMA’s Director of Preparedness Integration and Coordination out of HQ has been point person for this effort started when previous FEMA Administrator Brock Long started.

This program imbeds FEMA Planners at specified locations to support all state, local, tribal, and territory (SLTT) partners. Rollout has been ongoing as this is a phased effort. Many of the 56 FITs are not staffed yet.

Also fortunate to have one of the FIT Leads with us from Idaho – hiya Justin!

Great to see that kind of partnerships on all levels including building confidence in the SLTT’s efforts. The most beneficial aspect of the program would be that the FIT can provide RRCCs and NRCC accurate SA/COP for real-time operational assessment and needs. So more than just an FEMA LNO, these FITs are able to integrate and provide immediate support.

But truth be told, the FITs are really integrated into their community as they live there. They work there. They are part of the response, recovery side of any event or incident that state may have. Great idea!

Me? I’m totes interested.

Riding on the wave of productivity, we popped back into our regional groups again and talked about our lessons learned from this symposium.

We discussed at length how we can help each other under blue/grey skies time…and really support each other during event/disasters.

Here’s a little behind the scenes of the group. Everyone participated including solid contributions from our tribal partners.

After all, isn’t that the mantra of Emergency Management? Building relationships before a disaster?!?!? See, even the pros practice what we preach!

In breaking for lunch, I know many of you remember taking IS-100, IS-200, IS-700, IS-800 and remember this slide.

I wanted to dispel the rumor, that is NOT me.

Saw a few of the FIWA folks in the hall and thanked them for their help during our MRTs as well as our pre-disaster deployment support prior to Irma. While there, I had them check my FEMA phone and tuned up. They reminded me that I still needed to do my yearly compliance training on “Security Awareness”

#whoops

As the symposium closed out, we had the color guard from the Anniston Police stop by to retire the colors.

Everyone who attended work tirelessly in protecting our nation from emergencies and disasters. We all believe in helping out and supporting all our communities because a prepared nation is a more resilient nation.

On the door step of the Memorial Day weekend, we all pause to remember those who have given the ultimate sacrifice to protect everyone in this great nation.

Be safe out there folks!

Reporting live from the 2019 National Preparedness Symposium…

@rusnivek

2019 National Preparedness Symposium Day-2

An incredible Wednesday as we continue our efforts to collaborate here at the 2019 National Preparedness Symposium.

I chatted with Acting FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor on the importance of continuing to build a culture of preparedness and how it is so critical to our audiences.

Super nice guy.

He then popped the morning plenary session to the entire conference and FEMA employees. Huge discussion on our strategic plan and then a few things in his role as a state director he wished he had when he started at FEMA.

Solid insight from the top at FEMA. Nice guy.

Lots of afternoon sessions including one with the National Disaster Preparedness Consortium (NDPC).

Great discussion amongst participants including

  1. Policy/procedure on admittance into courses
  2. Frank discussion on prerequisites for admittance into class
  3. Ongoing class challenges including rostering.

After the NDPC panel discussion was over, I quickly moved a few rooms over to check out a worthwhile discussion on the I–35 bridge and failing infrastructure. Also had some discussion about structural assessments.

Glad to be having ongoing discussions to maintain our critical access points in many cities across the US.

Then it was time to present my course: Social Media in Emergency Management. Woohoo!!!!

Glad to be sharing the knowledge with providers from across the country.

Engaged audience including a few questions on engagement as well as OSINT gathering and augmented reality. Great to peek the interest and maybe MAYBE be that catalyst for change with our industry.

Shout out to Bronlea the n00b as this was her first trip to the Center for Domestic Preparedness!

Looking forward to tomorrow’s FIT class with FEMA Director John Allen.

Reporting live with all the HQ peeps hanging in FEMA Region 4…

@rusnivek