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

FEMA Basic PIO course at the PSOC

Morning start to the FEMA Basic Public Information Officer course at the Public Safety Operations Center (PSOC)

Welcome and good morning by Mr. JB himself!

Packed house with multiple disciplines represented from Fire, EMS, Police, Emergency Management, ESF-12, higher education, Search and Rescue, Coroners Office, etc…

Like a good Emergency Manager, I found the EOC.

They have soooo many tools and toys to play with!

As all FEMA Basic PIO courses, we are staunch advocates of putting all participants in front of the camera. No matter what kind of experience level or years in the position, you can always learn by practicing your skills in front of others.

We typically hear complaints.

  • I didn’t get enough time to prepare.
  • I didn’t get the information in time.
  • I don’t know anything about plane crashes!

Blah blah blah. But the reality of the situation is….IT HAPPENS LIKE THAT IN REAL LIFE!!!!!!!!

So yeah, we want to train like you fight.

For those that were wondering “Has this ever happened before?” Yes.

Looking forward to tomorrow day-2 with our news media panel, interview reviews, and focus on social media.

@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

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

JIC/JIS Course at IFD HQ – Day-3!

Day-3 of the Joint Information Center/Joint Information System course here at the Indianapolis Fire Headquarters.

This place is super nice…

…and a bonus welcome by the Chief of the department – Fire Chief Malone!

Outstanding to see that kind of engagement of a large metro fire department stop by to say hi. And of course the IFD PIO BC Rita Reith working the PIO magic too!

Great discussion on when situations get worse…ie disaster declarations and how as situations start to grow, how we as a nation respond to help assist others.

You know we had lots of discussion on JIC/JIS operations and needs.

Also discussed how the executive policy room could affect actions of the field PIOs as well as the JIC – which stresses the need for solid, one voice communications from the Emergency Operations Center.

I know, I know, coordination again huh? But it’s the truth! If we don’t work together, we will likely fail our constituents. We must work together to support our ongoing efforts of safety with all our partners.

Great dialog on mutual aid partnerships. Regardless of the situation, we can all work closely with each other and share ideas.

Me? I am very proud of the work from everyone in the class this week.

Looking forward to working with all of you during the next big one.

Until then, go forth and tweet good stuff!

@rusnivek

Day-2 of the DHS/FEMA G0290 Basic PIO Course!

Day-2 of the DHS/FEMA G0290 Basic PIO Course!

We had time to discuss a myriad of topics including the importance of press releases.

While antiquated, there is some value. I think.

Lots of group work as we continue to move to support our agencies’ goals and mission.

As usual, we were fortunate to have excellent coordination with local and national media for this class.

Good Morning America Elyna Niles-Carnes (@encproducer)

WISHTV-8 Emily Kinzer (@EmilyKinzer8)

RTV6 Paris Lewbel (@PLewbel)

and Indiana State Police PIO Sgt John Perrine (@ISPIndianapolis).

So glad to have this candid media panel to discuss ongoing PIO operations with everyone.

Got a chance to facilitate this panel discussion as we had spirited discussion on “no comment”, realistic expectations, favoritism, “off the record” vs truth. Outstanding discussion from everyone from Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois, Florida, and of course Indiana.

And if you were wondering, no doubt, we did review all in-class interviews.

Solid discussion on tips/tricks to use during oncamera interviews as well as some great techniques to use during a crisis.

Looking forward to tomorrow – final day as we form Voltron and move into JIC/JIS!!

@rusnivek