Bridges are out…now whut? #NatlPrep

As we near the end of the first week, we should also consider our planning and look at evacuation routes. As far as things go, most major routes should be open esp in emergency to allow for those who need to egress to GTFO of there right?!?

While in perfect situations, this would be the case. But lately, we’ve had some challenging situations across the nation that leads me to believe we may not have the option to evacuate safety out of the city.

While most days, all the bridges are down in Chicago.

Chicago Hotel Packages Add Spice to the Weekend

However the City of Chicago has had some bad luck and was forced to pop the bridges to curtail silly behavior at night.

With almost all the bridges up, that makes travel through the loop a bit more complex and challenging esp when things happen last minute and late at night.

To help deal with these challenging situations, subscribing to the mass notification systems would provide additional information on which roads are closed but amidst the ruckus, perhaps planning alternate routes out of your location would be best.

Easier said than done but necessary when faced with pressures of the safety of yourself and your family.

While it doesn’t have to be a straight shot out, you can exercise various options on how to exit your location and safely rondevous with loved ones in other places.

Remember, plan at least two alternate routes of egress from your location and try your hardest to reduce the amount of complexity after a disaster/emergency.

As always, remain vigilant and make sure you and your family are safe by planning now.

Reporting live on AlohaFriday…

@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

How I find out the latest deets on stuff #NatlPrep

Since this is only the second day of 2020 National Preparedness month, we needed to focus in on your plans before, during, and after an emergency.

On the regular, I get TONS of calls/inquiries from people trying to figure out what’s going on. Many of our friends/families can glean this same info I get from the mass notification systems already in place.

The City of Chicago (IL) Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) has an easy system called NotifyChicago.

By inputting your information and particular way to be contacted, you can get the most up-to-date information about any part of the city. This includes warnings, hazards, and of course major street closures due to riots, protests, or other weird things that happen in Chicago. Choosing to be notified via text message ensures that no matter where you are, you can be alerted to dangers in your area 24/7. Subscribe for free here: https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/depts/oem/provdrs/alertchicago/svcs/notifychicago.html

At the county level, DuPage County (IL) Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (OHSEM) uses the Smart911 system which is a mass notification system to alert anyone on issues at the county level.

This could include severe weather, road closures, as well as critical information for anyone living/working in the area. You can sign up here: https://www.smart911.com/

From the region:

I rely heavily on our partners from the National Weather Service. While not the primary way, I think their social media work on Twitter is excellent and pull lots of info from them using the alert feature (notifications on) function on Twitter.

Consider following Mike Bardou and the crew from the NWS Chicago or follow your own local NWS office for immediate weather info. There are 122 Weather Forecasting Offices across our great nation.

More details can be found here: https://www.weather.gov/srh/nwsoffices

And finally, with the amount of info and the onslaught of information being pushed to our mobile devices, it’s good to know that IF it’s too much, you can always unsubscribe to any these services.

IF you have family in other parts of the country, consider subscribing to their area notifications. Doesn’t hurt to help a loved one out as they maybe be too busy, sleeping, or incapable of understanding the severity of their situation. More on that tomorrow.

Keep it safe during this first week of National Preparedness Month by making your plan!

@rusnivek

2020 National Preparedness Month!

Welcome to the 2020 National Preparedness Month!!!

As described by so many, this is the most perfect year to plan for the unexpected.

Join me and my esteemed colleagues as we help share preparedness tips all month and help get you through this rotten year.

Reporting live in my favorite month…..

@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

Tuesday’s CMT aka Command and General Staff

Morning briefing with DCHD.

At first blush, this is looking like a full response vs a silo ESF response.

So I gotta put more thought on the ESF15 strategic path lays out. Likely lots of turf battles as this is a ESF-06 and ESF-08 kinda thang.

Glad to lean on my past experiences from Fire/EMS and hospitals to help me glide through this.

You know I’m going to say it…”External Affairs can support the plan.”

Reporting live from the health department…

@rusnivek

Sunday full press conference with leadership

Sunday funday right? #PIO

Looks like we got a prime spot for our presser today. Flag is up so let’s do this.

Assigned: Sunday Press Conference with senior leadership from County Health Department and County Chairman.

Me? I definitely burned the midnight oil but talking points all done. All reviewed and approved.

Let’s get this started because it looks like all my media friends are here. Welcome media partners!

Getting that angle just right….

But don’t forget, pic or it didn’t happen right?

And it’s Sunday so I didn’t a tie was necessary.

So let’s not delay.

Thanks to the friends at NBC5 Chicago for the live streaming of the presser.

Successful press conference with a few issues to review.

Shared learning points:

  • Trust your more seasoned PIOs to make solid strategic decisions.
  • Don’t be star-struck with national news media.
  • Lack of hard copy printing caused some hiccups.
  • Lack of skills will be very apparent within a few minutes of operation.
  • Lots to work through as this response will be a long response and even longer recovery.

Moving into the role of External Affairs Officer starting tomorrow. Likely turning on the lights for the Joint Information Center (JIC) too.

Hope your Sunday was good.

Reporting live from the presser….

@rusnivek