Great training resource discussion with the State of Maryland EMA

I stopped by the State of Maryland’s Emergency Management Agency and EOC.


I had a chance to sit down with Executive Director Russell Strickland and talk about various Training & Exercise plans including a few ways to enhance their plans. Also caught up with the famous Doc Lumpkins!


Yep, that’s our classic pose. It’s the same pose as the EMI conference, White House Disaster Day, NEMA Conference, etc….

Obv we all had to have a quick meeting with City of St. Louis EMA Sarah Gambling-Luig.


#FlatSarah had to go to another meeting concerning #CityHallSelfie so the rest of us stayed to plan for upcoming classes.

Great discussion on various aspects of social media focusing on gathering information for tactical operation for SA/COP. Emily and Ed provided some great insight to upcoming plans for Maryland. Additionally, we also had a chance to chat about ready deployable PIOs to field tactical operations, Joint Information Centers (JICs), Incident Management Teams (IMTs), and increasing SA/COP for State of Maryland.


Looking forward to more PIO involvement with my Maryland peeps!

@rusnivek

NEO Public Information Officer quarterly training with WKYC 

Great to see the leadership at WKYC (NBC affiliate) for hosting our quarterly NorthEast Ohio’s (NEO) Public Information Officer (PIO) training!

Photo credit: K. Hyson, Cincinnati Health Department

Lots of discussion based around media relations focusing on timely and accurate reporting. Additionally, lots of conversation with good stories vs bad stories – which challenges the typical paradigm of news media’s “If it bleeds, it leads!” mantra.


“Off the record” conversation as well as immediate notification of incident dominated the early part of our conversation.

We moved into how strategy sometimes gets in the way of real emergencies and of course how our PIO narratives sometimes conflicts with how the story is produced.


To me, I was also surprised at how many reporters wanted txt msgs as compared to phone calls. In fact, desk assignment editors wanted a mention as well as a follow-up txt or notification of ongoing emerging issue.


I am very greatful to be able to have candid conversation with our partners in the media. And yes, sharing success stories as well as challenges will allow us to do a better job with our local media to communicate our safety messages. Very glad to hear that getting the story right is still the main drive of our local news agencies.

Many thanks to the pros at WKYC (NBC affiliate) Cleveland for the hospitality and generosity.


Reporting live from WKYC…

@rusnivek

“Attending” the #GSMCon2017 in Dallas #coasttocoastkevin

Today, I am “attending” the Government Social Media Conference (#GSMCon2017) in Dallas.


Thanks to a few late night ideas spurred by Maryland Emergency Management’s Emily Allen (@allen_emilym) and Garden Grove Fire California Capt Nguyen (@PIOthanhn).

Bahhahahaahaha.

Sounds like an interesting talk from Mary Jo Flynn and Sarah Miller now on Social Media and UAS use by government officials.


Ahem. Well, what can I say?

Maybe a few safety messages on keeping your mobile devices charged…..Wait, Lazo can you help?

I tried to win a few raffle prizes, but sadly that didn’t happen.

While on the step and repeat, Conference host Kristy Dalton is giving me the look…the look to attend #GSMCon2018 too.

I spy, with my right eye…Bronlea too!

Reporting live from…..well Dallas!

@rusnivek

Day-4 as the FCO’s Press Secretary 

Day-4 and my Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO) wanted to brief the entire Joint Field Office (JFO).


Words of encouragement to rally the team and keep the momentum going is an important part of any situation.

Awesome. I’m just glad to be a part of the team.


No supersoakers or motorized podiums yet.

Second day of being the FCO’s Press Secretary – bring it on Thursday!

@rusnivek

Day-3: 2 PIOs inbound to Branch 2 – south side!

Day-3: FEMA External Affairs PIOs (MRSP) heading out to the south side!

Nikki with 2 Ks and Kevin with 1 K.

On the docket – coordinated messaging, pressers, VIP visits, and media interviews.

Rolling 2 deep for Branch-2!

@rusnivek

2017 #CLEStPats Parade and your favorite PIOs Spox on bikes!

2017 St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Cleveland is in full swing today.

Always remember to check in at the start of your shift at the EOC!


As part of our all-hazards plan, we have coordinated services with so many other agencies. Obviously the Cleveland EOC Manager wrote an IAP for all of us (Incident Action Plan).


This coordinated document addresses issues that could/likely arise during the operational period. Briefings and discussion completed by leadership as well as the Incident Commander (IC) help all C&GSF successfully complete their tasks. Additionally, understanding each other’s roles as well as the overarching SMART objectives, mission, and goals contribute to the success of the event.

Reporting into my ESF-15: External Affairs – Spox work today!


Planned ESF-1 (Transportation) routes look fairly open so sharing this kind of info with the general public is important because the less impaired drivers we have on the roadways, the better.


That’s why we encourage building partnerships before an event or large disaster. In this case, partnerships between all providers and the Greater Cleveland Rapid Transit Authority (@GCRTA) was key in sharing the message.

Once we field deployed, we planned on a few specific events and locations. Showcasing the skills of local bomb teams and K9 teams is an important part to share with the general public. Security is always important as we must ensure that everyone has a safe St. Patrick’s Day.


We used both Facebook Live, Twitter, Facebook, and Periscope to broadcast directly from the parade staging area on Superior Ave.

To aid in movement, we opted for a few bikes courtesy of the Cleveland Police Bike Unit.


You may have seen these bikes deployed out before during the RNC – they are NICE!!! By being mobile, PIOs have the ability to get anywhere in the response area (Note: This was the first time we have deployed PIOs on bikes for an event).

We even saw many of the reporters we regularly work with – like Fox 8 Cleveland‘s Jessica Dill who decided to do a live spot with us.


Great to have great relationships with local media.

We were able to showcase a few behind the scenes things like the lineup and start of the parade and spot interviews with VIPs in the parade lineup.


Cold day, but it seems like everyone heeded our cold weather warnings. NICE!


We reported back to the EOC to reorient ourselves as the parade had over 120 vehicles/floats.


This gave us a chance to brief w/ leadership and Incident Command (IC). As we continued to push out critical messages, it was imperative that we confirm with the Incident Commander that we are pushing out the right information.


Salient ICS point of reference: PIOs do not operate independently from the IC – they work to push the coordinated messages/information that is approved by the Incident Commander.

As emergency calls come in, the spread of mis-information is rampant. We as PIOs and official Spokespersons (Spox) must ensure that we get the right message out.

As we head back out to into the field, we are able to share traffic patterns and push that information out to the general public. This will help them depart safely and quicker after the parade from downtown Cleveland.

Additionally, Cleveland Police was out ensuring peace for all who attended the parade.


Not only local, but there are so many partners involved like the Cuyahoga County Sheriff


County Emergency Management

 

(Acting) Cuyahoga County Office of Emergency Management Agency Administrator Mark Christie and @rusnivek

…and even several Federal agencies too.

Instagram PC: Jay Kossman (digital504)

Great to see solid working relationships with all parties involved.

As PIOs we had a great day reporting from the field. We really enjoyed highlighting the efforts of so many pros working today.


Live broadcast from field PIOs = success for the #CLEStPats Parade!

From your favorite PIOs…


…Have a safe St. Patrick’s Day everyone!

@rusnivek

Great first day of Basic Public Information Officer #PIO Course in Athens County Ohio

Kicking off another solid FEMA / Ohio EMA Basic Public Information Officer’s course.

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We have participants from across the state of Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia!

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So Region-5 and Region-3 are well represented.

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Proud to have a diverse class this week in Athens County, Ohio.

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Lots of class engagement with several opening activities assessing preparedness levels as well as gaps in PIO responses.

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Addressing difficult situations (aka anticipating media questions) with PIOs or agency heads before they happen is a critical skill that every PIO should master.

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Deep discussion on how all-hazards PIOs could support various operations with public safety. Also dissecting how Strategic Communications play a crucial role in planning.

#StratComms4Lyfe

#StratComms4Lyfe

On camera mock media interviews in the afternoon with focus on answering questions, talking points, redirects, and of course preparedness. Great time to hone the skills of every PIO and agency head.

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Show and tell on preparedness kits and PIO go readiness kits.

PC: E. Creech

PC: E. Creech

Including my famous “PIO stick”

PC: J. Beckett

PC: J. Beckett

Looking forward to day-2!

@rusnivek