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

Debris Management with MassEMA

Despite not wearing pink today, we got a solid start to a great response and recovery course here in Massachusetts today.

Great introduction to the DHS/FEMA/NDPTC Debris Management Planning class. Outstanding to work with the Emergency Management Pros again from MassEMA and FEMA Region 1.

Glad to share the same mission and goals as the MassDEP, all agencies need to work together as we decrease our response times in a disaster.

Often times, people believe Debris Management is only for recovery. It isn’t. Debris Management starts in the response phase with local public works resources supporting Fire, EMS, and Police in their initial response.

Yes that’s right, response phase.

Even more surprising is that public works pros (ESF-3) are an integral part of any response plan and should be included as agencies enhance their disaster plans.

Funding is often a challenge as agencies continue to struggle w/ funding and maintaining resources for public works. But sharing ideas and resources could help mitigate deficiencies and increase capabilities for our partners in ESF-03.

As we continue to facilitate good conversation, we often talk about burn rates and projections to ensure that we are consistently bringing in resources to any disaster to best serve the communities that are affected.

We get laser focused on our top-3 primary response agencies from Fire, EMS, and Police. However, Emergency Management Professionals will tell you that we should include more into our preparedness and response phase to better serve our communities.

Coordination will enhance

  • Asset allocation
  • Response priorities
  • Critical access
  • Reduce costs and burn rates
  • Operational coordination

These points are critical as communities deal with the initial hit of any disaster.

So no matter large or small, urban or rural, or even rich or poor – any community is vulnerable. Proper planning will help reduce the risk so that we can continue to serve those survivors who need it the most.

Also, glad to see participants getting a lot out of class and instructor enthusiasm on the importance of this Emergency Management topic.

I’d encourage you to look at your Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) and realistically look at the response from Public works as they are truly a partner in our preparedness, response, and recovery of any big event or disaster.

@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

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

Forming the proverbial PIO Voltron for today‚Äôs FEMA JIC/JIS course

And now starting the FEMA JIC/JIS Course with our class here at the Defiance County EMA Emergency Operations Center.

And yes, if you’ve been in a JIC/JIS class w/ me before, you know I talk about Voltron. In the FEMA Basic PIO Course, we teach you to be an individual PIO and function with limited options…however, the JIC/JIS course allows you to join forces with other PIOs and work the magic despite being from different backgrounds and different factions for the emergency or disaster. That’s right-we can all get along in the JIC.

Starting out the day with a cold reality check on expectations and capabilities as we assess our options and ready our agencies for disasters. It would be a good idea to have a clear understanding of the situation and build from there.

Additionally, we bring our all-hazards partners into the fold. Here’s Sister Michael Marie talking about the complexities of what appears as a simple emergency that could quite result in bringing soooooooooooooooooooooo many partners to respond to this typical emergency.

Drawing too simple for you?

You need more description?

NO SOUP FOR YOU!

The whole point of the exercise is to get your mind thinking about various options as well as partners to call early as likely, they have a dog in the fight to help any affected community recover from any disaster.

Look, it’s more than Fire, Police, and EMS – it’s the #WholeCommunity to build a culture of preparedness.

Proud of every single one of these participants as everyone walked away with a new understanding and respect for the PIO. While some have been on TV before w/ a few interviews, all of them realize the dangers of an unprepared interviewee.

Looking forward to working with all of you on the next big one. And just think…in the midst of a disaster, you just might see these two smiling faces.

Now, go forth and use your new PIO powers for good!

@rusnivek

Day-2 of the FEMA Basic Public Information Officer course here at Defiance County EMA

Day-2 of the FEMA OEMA Basic Public Information Officer course here at Defiance County EMA.

As we start to expand the roles of the PIO, we gotta talk about social media and the impact it has on our every day tasks representing our brand…aka our agency.

Like all info on social media, there’s a ton of things to cover and we won’t be able to talk about ALL platforms. But we can talk about the primary ones that make a difference for any public safety agency.

Also a good time to share one thoughts with you too:

“I don’t care how many followers you have, I care about how you engage all of the followers you do have.” – @rusnivek

Much like Shania Twain, the volume of followers don’t impress me much. What makes a really good social media-er, is how that agency engages with their followers they do have.

I often get asked about in class mock interviews. We still do them as they are incredibly important for participants in a safe learning environment.

But ask any of my participants. They will tell you that it’s pretty real.

Additionally, how I facilitate that part of class nurtures and allows for self-reflection amongst all participants. This ain’t my first rodeo. My peeps are good as we prep them for a really bad day.

Mock press conferences allow our participants to put together a few skills they learned just yesterday.

Just like real press conferences, mock reporters are able to ask questions and test some techniques on running a successful press conference.

The best part?

Participants worked it like pros and did an excellent job in running the pressers! NOOICE!!!!!

Great teamwork and collaboration with everyone here. Strong support network, solid coordination, and nice weather – always a winner!

Proud of the work from everyone in class today.

I’m totes looking forward to tomorrow’s course – FEMA JIC/JIS Course

@rusnivek