2019 National Preparedness Symposium (Day-1)

Early morning start to this Tuesday waiting for clearance from tower.

But before you know it, we are off heading 150 to the 2019 National Preparedness Symposium!

Awwwww yeah, training & exercises and all the FEMA peeps in one place here at the Center for Domestic Preparedness in Alabama!

Started off with a talk from the National Integration Center on the new National Response Framework and Community Lifelines.

Chad walked us through soooooo many programs that Doc talked about previously. Glad to see his work has carried through to inspire a new generation of Emergency Managers.

Continued with spirited discussion from my friends at FEMA EMI on the ongoing efforts for the Emergency Management Professional Program.

Lots of recs on what to take and complete as they could (hint hint) require this for EMPG grant funding employees. Yes that’s right, they can mandate these courses to qualify for grant funds.

So yeah, I’d suggest you get on those courses right away.

Then we hopped deep into a FEMA Region 5 meeting w/ our partners from Ohio, Indiana, Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, and of course Illinois. Overview of exercises “Basically, June is going to be insane.”

Grrrrreat.

Then, it happened. One of the Training & Exercise Managers called me out as “The Legend! We have a picture of you on our wall!”

Me: Blush

Joliet Fire Deputy Fire Chief gave us the biggest shoutout as they said to the entire region “Did you know DuPage trained all the Aurora Police PIOs? Their first day of the job was the day they had that shooting.”

Either way, it was good to report out for DuPage County OHSEM and their significant efforts in training for all provides from across Illinois.

And of course got a chance to see a few familiar faces in the crowd from Rhode Island, Vermont, Texas, California, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Tennessee, New York, Kentucky, Louisiana, and of course Illinois.

Great to catch up to FEMA Region 8 James Taylor who served as my Disaster Recovery Center Manager during Hurricane Irma for the Florida Keys.

Glad to hear he is doing well.

Proud to see soooooooo many old disaster friends too.

Looking forward to hearing from Acting Administrator Pete Gaynor tomorrow morning as he will surely touch on our strategic mission objectives as well as building out a culture of preparedness.

Follow the hashtag used: #NPS19

Reporting live from the CDP….

@rusnivek

FEMA EOC Management and Operations Course tomorrow

Teaching FEMA’s Emergency Operations Center Management & Operations course tomorrow.

Looking forward to sharing some EOC tips w/ Emergency Management pros from across the state of #Illinois.

@rusnivek

FSE today for Regional JIC actions! #PIO

Busy morning as we started our full scale exercise (FSC) today.

As players rolled in, they signed in and were matched up to their projected Joint Information Center (JIC) positions.

Some issues encountered by the participants? They have never worked together.

Realistic? Yep. Soooooo this is why we train and exercise together during bright lights classroom time. Again, I continue to believe, the worst time to meet someone for the very first time is at 0300.

Some general rules about the FSE including our work here in the JIC.

Steve outlining the efforts of social media injects and the Twitter.

Aside from regular play, we also had some VIPs visit. Jane from City Council showed up and I was detailed to share some of the issues, deliverables, and progress each of the tables were making as they continued the scenario.

Our social media team was hard at work not only discerning info, but also considering prioritization of tweets, impact of posts, and of course exploring various other platforms that could provide better SA/COP from data mining the locale using social media.

Not only the use of Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram – but exploring SeeClickFix, Waze, Tinder, SnapChat, and a whole host of other platforms geared to provide information out in the field.

Here’s Erica questioning the viability of some posted information as well as verifying media info.

Say it with me: Trust, but VERIFY.

Our rumor control table helped provide supplemental documents as well as refined talking points for our social media teams as well as our on-camera talent. All bullet points right?

Assistant PIOs were hard at work discerning google docs for real time sharing of information.

Maintaining good tempo for a JIC Manager is crucial as they update themselves on the issues w/ the EOC as well as continue the message that matches w/ the SMART Objectives.

As time went on, we simulated a “change of command” where the JIC Manager formally passes command to the Deputy JIC Manager. Hint to new JIC Managers – to make this a smooth transition, you must train on this action.

***ICS reminder: The Deputy can assume the role of the primary position. An assistant cannot assume the role/duties of the primary position.

Meanwhile, us Controllers and Coaches got all the smiles.

Along with VIPs, we continue to stream Federal partners in to tour the working exercise JIC. Not only response questions, but long term viability and ongoing return to normalcy were stressed as we projected our move from response to recovery and how viable are the transportation companies.

See, recovery is critical right? Therefore resilience is critical for the community.

The Captain of the Port was able to brief out with all participants. Outstanding to have this kind of high level involvement in our FSE. Encouraging words to hear specifically addressing our nation”s current situation for security and safety.

Also, great messages of collaboration from the City/County Emergency Management Agencies on our FSE.

Additional discussion on upcoming evaluations and how hotwashes are critical as the team starts to piece together the AAR/IP.

But never fear, we did simulate a press conference lead off by the USCG Lt.

Joining the USCG leadership at the podium was EPA, and Mayor’s office.

Don’t worry, WSUR had some pressing questions like

  • How many are dead? (If you been through my Basic PIO course, you know this one)
  • Do you regularly train for this kind of emergency?
  • Have we been attacked before?
  • Are we currently under attack?
  • And the famous one: We got some leads from user generated comments but who is responsible for this horrific incident??

So I got a chance to discuss a few items from a training standpoint re: classes. Also a last minute pieces of encouragement for ongoing training and exercises as well as a strong guidance on planning ahead with everyone who is involved in the Regional Joint Information Center.

Glad to have soooooo many participants from diverse backgrounds involved in this exercise.

What a day!

Looking forward to seeing all of you on the next big one.

@rusnivek

Joining the team at DuPage County OHSEM

Glad to join the team at DuPage County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management leading the charge for training and exercises.

Many thanks to Director Snow and the entire team of pros at OHSEM.

Proud to be serving communities in NE Illinois and across this great country.

@rusnviek

Volunteers & Donation Management

Volunteer and Donations Management class today.

Lots of discussion was sparked by spontaneous volunteers.

While easy to handle, complex to handle without a tested and easy system to categories skills and personnel.

Additionally, lots focused on resource and supplies. A casual remark in class is that volunteers can house all kinds of stuff and be able to distribute everything accordingly.

Let me be very honest, I love people that want to help. But if you dump this task on an untrained and unfamiliar set of volunteers, it will not go smoothly. You have to train them, set them in a direction, and of course be as organized and coordinated as you can be. Make them part of your team EARLY!

So to share a perfect example of serving in disaster recovery, I’ll again share the AmeriCorps package we put together while deployed out for Hurricane Maria on the US Virgin Islands St. Thomas.

Outstanding crew to work with and solid bunch of dedicated individuals to the mission at hand. More info about AmeriCorps, click here¬†and AmeriCorp Blue-6¬†(<—That team is SOLID).

A few takeaways for participants in today’s class:

  • Build relationships before an emergency.
  • Enhance capabilities and knowledge.
  • Evaluate skill sets of your volunteer workforce.
  • Exercise, Exercise, Exercise.
  • Help your neighbor.
  • Do good stuff.

Train your volunteers frequently as they should be a valuable part of our community’s recovery process.

@rusnivek

Day-1 Ohio EMA Emergency Planning

Welcome to another solid start of Ohio EMA’s G-235: Emergency Planning course!

Thank you to Ashtabula County EMA for hosting this class for participants from three different FEMA regions. Here’s Ashtabula County EMA Deputy Director Tim Settles welcoming message to all our participants.

I immediately started involving them on identifying solid planning system characteristics.

Great discussion among Fire representatives, Emergency Management, and Red Cross professionals.

Additionally, CERT and HAM radio operators’ involvement was critical in plan writing as they will be testing/using those annexes.

Team leads from the Ohio National Guard / 52nd Civil Support Unit attended and worked closely with leadership from local/county EMAs.

Outstanding first day of class!

@rusnivek

State of Ohio EMA G291 Joint Information Center / System class at Medina County EOC

Packed State of Ohio EMA Joint Information Center / Joint Information System course today!

Started everyone into group work as well as ongoing discussion on the role of SMEs at a press conference.

Just in case, we also tasked participants to start thinking about a policy/protocol for their agency on sneak attack aka ambush interviews.

We found as we leverages our strengths and capitalize on our skills, we as JIC Managers can better meet the needs of any situation – we just gotta find the right PIOs for the job.

As our groups collaborated, we found that despite crossing state lines, we still have the same problems as other areas – thus proving our point that we need to consistently train together and exercise our plans together.

Many of our participants enjoyed working in the JIC setting and were excited to work in a JIC during the next activation. Most excellent as we build a strong cadre of PIOs across this great state.

My Ohio Peeps!

Reporting live from Medina County’s Emergency Operations Center….

@rusnivek