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

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

Quick chat with FEMA Deputy Administrator Dan Kaniewski

I was fortunate this week to sit down this week with FEMA Deputy Administrator for Resilience Dan Kaniewski at FEMA HQ.

Dan’s efforts across the country has helped pushed the importance of preparedness and strength for any community. With regular talks on flood insurance and hazard mitigation, his ability to bring pre-disaster planning to the forefront has been solid as we continue to help many communities better prepare for any disaster or emergency.

Dan’s hard fought efforts is not only with government agencies, but various partners in the public and private sector too. The importance of their efforts will only help better their community when disaster strikes.

Glad to see our top brass pushing for more preparedness every single day too.

Reporting live from FEMA HQ…Happy Aloha Friday peeps!

@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