FEMA Basic PIO Course here at Defiance County EMA

It’s just another Manic Monday as we start another FEMA OEMA Basic PIO Course here at Defiance County Emergency Management Agency (Ohio). Cue the Guns n Roses intro music!

Not going to lie, all signs point to a large contingent from our law enforcement community here today.

Lots of new PIOs in the audience today as we try to share the good word from so many agencies. Almost every ESF is represented!

All-hazards coolio on Monday!

As an added instructor bonus, we get a chance to see what campaigns that Ohio EMA has worked for previous outreach activities in Ohio. Hi Nancy!!!!!

My lunch time views include a few red fire trucks.

Ahhhhh, I feel better now.

And in classic fashion, we are most definitely doing on-camera interviews.

While seemingly insignificant, this is the part of the class that participants find is the most valuable for their ongoing career.

Me? I’d rather you have that experience and training and never use it vs never having that training and then being thrown to the wolves in a crisis or emergency.

Train like you fight right?

Reporting live from the EOC as I ask those challenging media-esque questions…

@rusnivek

FEMA Basic PIO Day-2 with Media panel!

Day-2 of the FEMA Basic Public Information Officer’s course here in Summit County, Ohio! Starting off discussion on body language and non-verbal cues from Bosso.

I was fortunate to have a few of my media peeps stop by to say hi.

Cleveland 19 News (@Cleveland19news) Director of Digital Content Amanda Harnocz (@AmandaHarnocz)

News 5 Cleveland (@WEWS) Reporter Meg Shaw (@MegDShaw)

So glad to hear their insights to news media engagement and interactions.

We opened the floor to questions and our new PIOs had some deep questions on conflict resolution and maintaining relationships.

Proud to have media members attend all my classes as an integral part of getting the message out.

A hallmark sign of a solid PIO? Always building media relationships BEFORE an emergency.

Thanks you Meg and Amanda!

In the afternoon, we had a quick public safety panel from

Cleveland Police (@CLEPolice) PIO Sgt Jennifer Ciaccia

Cleveland Fire (@ClevelandFire) PIO Lt Michael Norman

Outstanding to hear from working PIOs who have worked so hard to improve the image of their departments during challenging times.

And finally, to close out the day, we had a quick visit from Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office (@CuyahogaSheriff) PIO John O’Brien (@jobjr)!

Providing solid media interactions and being firm on your stance as a PIO is critical in assuring your agency is seen as a trusted and guaranteed source of information. Thankful to hear positive stories from John for all of our class today.

I am proud to be able to share and open connections for these new PIOs from across the state.

Tomorrow we take them from single role PIOs and form up Voltron in the JIC!

@rusnivek

FEMA Basic PIO – day 2 with media!

Day-2 of the FEMA Basic PIO course here at DuPage County OHSEM and I wanted to pay my respects…..I mean focus in a bit on press releases.

While just one tool in the tool box, press releases were the primary way to get the info out to media partners about 15 years ago.

Yes, don’t ask. I remember writing my first press release. And no, it wasn’t good.

I am old AF.

However, we wanted to share the dangers of writing bad press releases…so I opted to share one of my favorite ones from Cleveland.

Thanks LeBron.

Mid-morning stop as we open our class up for our media panel.

(L to R)

Daily Herald (@dailyherald) Justin Kmitch (@JustinKmitchDH)

NBC Chicago (@NBCChicago) Chris Coffey (@ChrisCoffeyNBC)

WGN News (@WGNNews) Shannon Halligan (@ShanHalligan)

Lots of discussion including field PIO questions, staging areas, no comment, availability, and of course the dreaded “off the record” conversation. These kinds of conversations are incredibly important as we continue to network with others and enhance our relationships with our partners in the media. Also tweeting from the front of the class is totally acceptable too.

We also had some discussion about the outstanding work that the Aurora Police Department did during their active shooter incident in February. Kudos to all involved including the six new Police PIOs who were immediately pressed into service on their first day of being PIOs.

Literally “Learn it today, use it this afternoon.”

I’ve heard some great panel discussions, but the straight forward information in this panel was refreshing and honest.

I even pressed – if a PIO says to you “No comment” how does that make you feel? Justin’s comment was poignant and worth hearing.

Stay tuned for that interview to be published on #MediaMinutes.

We closed out the day reviewing the interviews and had solid conversations around social media.

Special thanks to our Media Panel guests from the media,

Outstanding class with all our participants!

@rusnivek

 

 

FEMA Basic PIO Day-1

Starting off another FEMA G0290: Basic PIO course with our public safety pros from across the state!

I am fortunate to grab a few other PIOs for class today – suit up!

Aside from sharing concepts and theory, we also focused on interview skills…

…you know we did the oncamera interviews.

No bones about it, our mantra is to provide the best real-world training out there.

Lots of discussion on staging as well as single role PIOs and what they can do to get the ball rolling.

We also integrated a few activities and exercises into the mix too.

Don’t worry, we took some time to discuss communications strategies. We shared the 8-step communications model and introduced StratComms!

Planning ahead is always a good thing – esp for PIOs. Preparedness is essential in being a good PIO.

Successful first day with everyone. Looking forward to a solid day-2!

@rusnivek

Class comments – Yassssss!

In reviewing my comments from yesterday’s class, I am reminded how much our impact and influence we have as instructors.

This is the reason why we as instructors, educators, and leaders share our experiences.

Without a doubt, there are clear differences between people who read the slides vs instructors who are passionate about improving our field.

It is imperative that we continue to push the envelope as we train and exercise our nation’s public safety professionals. During an emergency or disaster, there is no second chance. The community’s safety is of the utmost importance.

Our dedication to our public safety constituents is neverending and we must strive to be ready for any situation.

This is what we train for…this is what we do.

@rusnivek

Already December 2018? Are you serious?!?!?

How in the world is it December already!

First week will be several NIMS/ICS courses for our County ESF-3 partners, few other Emergency Management courses for IL Region-9, and a Emergency Management/Health Department functional exercise w/ our CERT Teams for medication POD distribution.

Second week our office is hosting another FEMA G0289: PIO Awareness course and then a fun PIO Workshop at ABC7-Chicago on Friday.

Third week will be the FEMA G0290/G0291: Basic PIO Course and JIC/JIS course. Without a doubt a full class w/ wait list. Glad to finally nail this one for all of our partners in public safety, Cheers for Murray and Corey for championing this for everyone too.

Fourth week appears to be Christmas so likely yearly closeouts and wrap ups.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yeowza. Honestly, I can’t believe 2019 is right around the corner.

@rusnivek

FEMA OEMA G0291: Joint Information Center/System class at the Cleveland EOC! #PIO

Happy AlohaFriday and a great start to the FEMA OEMA G0291: Joint Information Center / Joint Information System course here at the Cleveland EOC!

So naturally, we talked a bunch of JIC stuff including our third guest VIP – day shift Cleveland JIC Manager of the 2016 RNC and the led JIC Manager of the Christmas plane crash in 2016, Beth Zietlow DeJesus!!!

Not only sharing stories about coordination amongst local, county, and Federal agencies on the recovery process, Beth was able to share a few stories about the media on controlling the message and handling mis-information.

Great experiences to share with out new PIOs!

Outstanding class this week. Proud of the work and collaboration in class shared by everyone. Great to see these new PIOs as they increase their organization’s visibility.

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

Also, yeah.

@rusnivek