Site visit ending up at AFD Station-8

Is it kinda like the elephant march when we line up ambulances outside?

Overcast dreary morning as we continue to support our public safety pros in the field 24/7. No rest for the weary!

But after Chicago, I was able to switch out to Aurora Station-8 as we discuss some ongoing issues and see how we can creatively explore more training/exercises to increase partnerships/coordination.

Lots of discussion on our ongoing FEMA Emergency Management Basic Academy as we continue to share the good that the DuPage County OHSEM does for all  partners.

Sometimes it’s difficult for people to understand that Emergency Management is a different field than 30 years in the fire service or 30 years at the police department or 30 years working at an EMS service. Definitely not the same.

So in that same vein, we need to tailor our classes and exercises to address the all-hazards approach and address all partners.

We are fortunate that our classes are geared to hit all 15 Federal Emergency Support Functions (ESFs) in accordance with national plans. Our guidance is clear as we align with national doctrine, state grants/guidance, and local response plans to coordinate and execute any needed response plans.

The crux is that Emergency Management in the EOC will be the coordinating entity during any emergency or disaster. Period.

In order for locals to execute, State to manage, and Federal to assist and support, we need to have a firm understanding of what happens every step of the way. I am proud of my staff for taking the time to see these things through and explore options for our public safety pros.

No doubt, these are the kinds of things that make our EM stronger and solid at supporting our peeps 24/7/365. We in Emergency Management must continue to build a rock solid collaborative effort with our key players so that when we need to exercise or execute, we can do it seamlessly.

Special thanks to the men and women at the Aurora Fire Station 8 for their warm hospitality. Looking forward to seeing all of you in class and future exercises.

Reporting live from the bay floors between Truck-6 and Engine-99…I mean Engine-8…

@rusnivek

Morning briefing in the EOC with IL USAR TaskForce-1.

Morning briefing in the EOC with the State of Illinois USAR TaskForce-1.

Special thanks to OTFPD Chief Ralph DeLucca on providing information on their response as well as their resources.

It is imperative that Emergency Managers continually learn about teams and resources from their jurisdictions. In crisis, there will be no time to forge these relationships. Your interactions will be judged on how seamless your operations and rollout goes.

Experience will show itself in seconds. In order to call the shots, you have to talk the talk and have to have walked the walk.

Trust me, people are watching.

And judging.

Reporting live from the EOC this morning….

@rusnivek

Assigned to Aurora Police for the day

This past week, I got a chance to spend some time with Aurora (Illinois) Police.

Like a good guy, you never want to show up empty handed. So yeah, I brought donuts for everyone.

Like lotsa power rings!

Lots of love to all our partners in public safety.

Rolling out with PO Weaver and instantly, we head out!

For those that were wondering if we did some karaoke?

Hmmmm, well you know we talked about TikTok.

But yeah, we did discuss lots on protocol and training.

Then roll call with Sgt Gallardo and the second shift crew.

Love the collaboration and shared deets – definitely embodies the situational awareness/common operating picture.

As we rolled out of the station, we were called to another call with a bit more challenges.

Involving Fire, EMS, Police – all safety forces were engaged on this complex situation.

Great to see all pros working together onscene!

At the end of the day, lots of discussion on training and exercises specifically addressing ESF15 and the JIC actions.

For those that want more details from Aurora (Illinois) Police, here’s how:

Twitter: @AuroraPoliceIL

Facebook: Aurora Illinois Police Department

Instagram: @AuroraPoliceIL

Special thanks to the Aurora Police for the fun stuff.

Stay warm and keep up the great work!

@rusnivek

Christmas tree disposal should NOT block your fire exit – duh!

When throwing away your Christmas tree, make sure you don’t block the emergency fire escape.

C’mon now, let’s all do our part to be apart of the Christmas miracle we call COMMON SENSE.

Please people, no more dumb things in 2020.

@rusnivek

Congrats on PGFD’s PIO Mark Brady

Congrats to Prince George County Fire PIO Mark Brady on a well deserved upcoming retirement from decades of service to public safety and PIOs.

I have been fortunate to know and work with Mark over the years in professional circles. Legit nice guy and consummate professional.

When I received this note, I was exhausted from working back-to-back Hurricane Irma/Maria Type-1 Federal disasters for months. Worked to the bone and getting very little sleep, I wasn’t quite sure what was going on.

I am grateful for Mark’s specific note to me. And in PIO classes, I talk frequently about Mark’s actions but when it comes to nurturing/growing PIOs, Mark took the time to check in on my well being and safety. Trust me when I tell you, I needed to see this note.

Related: For those that used Brady EMS books, that would be the same family – so yeah, Mark’s family is a legacy in public safety.

Congrats Mark. Enjoy retirement. Indeed, our paths will cross again. #PIO

@rusnivek

Final day of the new 2019 ICS-400

The final day of new 2019 ICS-400! But first, let’s see…what the-

WHY IS THERE SNOW?!?!?

Dang it.

Thanks again to Will County (IL) EMA Director Harold Damron for instructing this ICS class with me this week.

Lots of great discussion on coordination and resource ordering. Deep convos on complex problems esp on after action reviews (AARs) and implementation plans. And the complexities of collaboration is incredibly important esp at the Type-1 and Type-2 responses. As you know, that is the crux of Emergency Management.

Special shout out to Chief Gorsky and all the members of the Darien–Woodridge Fire Department on the fine hospitality.

EM-1 clear, enroute back to quarters.

Gotta prep for our next class!

@rusnivek

It’s all smiles in day-2 of ICS-300 at DWFD

Starting off our day-2 of ICS-300 here at DWFD with Jake and Elwood!

You know those two jokers executed their plans…to get the band back together.

This morning, we are joined by another representative from Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) Region 4 Trainer Wendell Brewer!

Hope to lean on his recent expertise as a MEPP throughout the day.

Additionally, I got several inquiries on training that pertains to timely and proximity to the holidays (specifically any classes in December).

Look, it’s only December 6th. You need to calm down. You’re being too loud.

In short, disasters don’t take holidays or extended vacations. And neither do we. I am proud to see so many public safety partners attending our class from across the country.

Today, we hit the Planning P in full force as we brief our partners with the deets on the tactics meeting. We also dive deep on how important the ICS forms are (esp the 215 and 215A) for all tacticians and deployed personnel. I believe these two forms are critical to every single Incident Action Plans (IAP).

And for those that took ICS courses and thought they were boring and a waste of time or had poor instruction….that’s your fault.

Here’s proof that ICS participants, if provided solid instruction, can enjoy training and smile throughout class. I would say that the smiles probably help nurture transparent and dynamic conversation in class to solve legit problems that face any government agency. Sooooooo critical for any agency leader.

So go ahead and continue to complain about your experiences. Perhaps you just haven’t found an agency that provides solid instructors with real-world experiences that nurtures coordination and collaboration.

And as a true marker that I believe what we teach is impactful in all of our communities, I submit my sock choice for today. If we as leaders of our organization do not plan accordingly, we will likely become extinct.

Rawr.

Reporting live from the front of the class…

@rusnivek

Day 1 of ICS-300 at DWFD

Midweek start to our FEMA IEMA DuPage Co OHSEM ICS-300: Intermediate ICS for Expanding Incidents at Darien Woodridge Fire Department Station 89!

And since it’s the holidays, I thought a little Mariah would be appropriate

🤣

Special thanks to Fire Chief Gorsky on the warm hospitality to all of our participants from across the country.

This week, I am fortunate to have Illinois EMA Region 7 Trainer Richard Williams along for the instructor ride.

Great to hear about his military experiences and how they used ICS. Additionally, lots of info to share on his assignment to the southern Illinois flooding this year.

And since I’m teaching with IEMA staff, I thought it would be appropriate to wear my Illinois socks.

Reporting live from Station 89…

@rusnivek

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

Day-2 of the FEMA Basic PIO Course here in KY

Day-2 of the FEMA Basic Public Information Officer Course here.

Glad to finally meet Lexington Fire Capt Jessica Bowman who is also one of the FEMA Master PIOs.

Great day to share some of the tools we use as PIOs. Here’s Sherelle and John talking about the importance and fashionable safety vests are for officials onscene.

Additionally, we discussed media being well visible as their safety is incredibly important. We can’t have our friends in the news business get hurt or become part of the incident.

And trust me, the more people who get injured in an incident, the more paperwork we all have to fill out….so be safe!

As usual, we had a very seasoned media panel from WLEX18 Bill Wilcox and Herald Leader Peter Baniak. Many thanks to both news organizations to spend time out of their busy schedule to spend with PIOs from across the state.

With all Basic PIO classes, we talk about the ability and flexibility for PIOs to do field reporting. Often times, reporters can’t get to a scene because of traffic or lack of staffing. Either way, we as government PIOs can help them out by packaging information they need from the scene. The tools needed to produce this kind of info is fairly easy to get, however the challenge is to put them into play.

By sharing the tactics and tools in class, I am able to improve the skills of any PIO by enhancing their ability to share solid timely and TRUSTED information with any of the targeted audiences.

As PIOs, we are beholden to so many audiences.

  • Public
  • Media
  • Leadership
  • Our internal teams.

At times, our job seems easy however once you dive into it, you can see the complexities of our efforts.

Don’t worry, we reviewed all mock on camera interviews. Tackled key concepts like redirects as well as some tips on how to give more positive non-verbals while being interviewed during crisis.

Super fun day with everyone. Lots of contributions from our partners from Fire, EMS, Police, Emergency Management, Energy, Coroner’s Office, Higher Education, Search and Rescue.

Looking forward to tomorrow’s FEMA JIC/JIS course!

Reporting live from the EOC….

@rusnviek