Detailed warning information on upcoming weather threats and other hazards

Welcome to the third week of 2020 National Preparedness Month! This week, we will be addressing how to prepare for specific disasters.

Compared to other weeks where we talk about general topics, plans, and maybe some things in your kit, we will be talking about how you can get stuff ready for each type of emergency or disaster.

So to start out, let’s talk about information about upcoming disasters.

A solid tool that is almost indispensable is…..your cell phone!

That’s right, that little computer/smart phone in your pocket is a GREAT way that you can discern information and better respond to the emergency.

One easy way is to download the FEMA app.

See the source image

https://www.fema.gov/about/news-multimedia/app

The FEMA app has a ton of features that could be beneficial to your specific area. Specifically in the notification for five of your identified cities/county.

This feature provides the ability to see what’s going on in a certain area of the country. And since I travel, I always have the first slot in my list for home. This allows me to get any notification on stuff that could be happening at home.

The second, third, and fourth slot are for my family in Los Angles, Honolulu, and San Francisco. Gotta keep an eye on the family no matter where they are. Plus an extra set of eyes from another part of the country is beneficial esp if they are sleeping at 0300 and it’s 0800 here.

Since I travel a fair amount, I usually reserve slot #5 (the last slot) for my work travel. Even though I may not be from Central City, I will always know the latest in dangers in my travel city.

See the source image

From critical tornado warnings or immediate evacuation tsunami warnings – I know I’ll be prepared for my location(s) specific disaster or emergency.

All of the information provided to you….FREE. That’s right-all the details are available to you for free. App is free. No charge from FEMA to download the app. No monthly fee. No recurring administrative charges.

See the source image

Ahhhh, safety for free.

I got your back.

More free tips tomorrow addressing specific hazards.

Reporting live from the third week!

@rusnivek

My well labeled mugs for coffee and hydration

Last and final day of 2020 National Preparedness Month. All the best time to talk about your kits and stuff you gotta have in case of an emergency/disaster.

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I am a staunch supporter of good travel mugs. My oldest mug is a Nissan Stainless mug from Japan that is about 25 years old and yes, it still keeps the coffee hot. However, I needed something that is spill proof as I usually keep things in my bellows pockets.

And the last thing I needed was to spill coffee in/on my pants.

See the source image

 

Stanley mugs that have been traveling and deploying out with me for the past 5 years. I usually carry two – one for my black coffee and the other for my water (also backup for coffee).

Best part? They have a lifetime warranty. LIFETIME BABY!ย  I can attest that if something breaks, Stanley has committed to replacing things for free. I’ve had several tops of the travel mugs mechanically fail from normal use. Stanley has replaced each of them immediately and for free. No question from me that they definitely stand behind their product.

It is worth noting that you should consider labeling all of your stuff. ALL of your stuff. Something that is easy to spot in a large area and unique.

Stuff gets lost or acquired or stolen….so make sure your stuff is labeled and easily identified.

I can spot my things from across a large room…even in the dark.

Hope this week’s tips helped you plan out a better kit and equipment.

Reporting live with my favorite preparedness kit…

@rusnivek

Enhance your kit with these individually wrapped things

Almost done with the 2nd week of 2020 National Preparedness week – so let’s enhance your preparedness kit a little more.

As you know, this week has been dedicated to your prep kits and diving into several avenues of that works and of course ways you can enhance your kit to make you more agile/nimble…give you a better chance.

Want an easy one for today?

Utensils.

In this day of trying to find better ways to be a bit more clean (thanks COVID), we need to be more aware of our hands and the things we touch. Therefore we should act like an advanced society and really use our utensils to max capacity.

Why You Should Let Your Baby Get Messy While Eating

Since all of us are doing our part and eating out a bit more (hopefully more local), take a moment and utilize those plastic utensil sets for your kits. Don’t decline or throw them away, USE THEM!

Most of them come individually wrapped and often are filled with a knife, fork, spoon, napkin, salt, and pepper. In fact, the fancier ones come with a wet-nap of some sort to help clean you up a bit.

(hint wing joints usually send their to-go orders with wet naps.

Now, let’s step up to the big leagues. Check this out from my friends at Mount Prospect Emergency Management (Illinois).

Handy dandy AND reusable. Legit sturdy utensil set that all packs up nicely in a ready to go pouch.

Look closely, you can see Mount Prospect EM subscribes to the Built a Kit – Make a Plan mantra.

Look, however you want to do it, having an extra set(s) of utensils could be a lifesaver for your preparedness kit. (FYI-the Mount Prospect EM utensil set legit lives in my preparedness kit)

Heck, if you use chopsticks, that’s totes fine with me too.

IntereSTING...: Goodbye, Mr. Miyagi

So get those extra utensils in play and enhance your kit!

Reporting live from the Village of Spork…HA!

@rusnivek

What does HumpDay have to do with your kit?

As we are in the middle of the second week of 2020 National Preparedness month, we should continue to talk about your preparedness kits. While yesterday’s kit was part of my deployment loadout, there are similarities between personal preparedness kit and professional deployment kits.

How timely of a topic since today is HUMP DAY!

One such item that is replicated in all of my kits is cash.

That’s right, dolla holla yo!

And quite literally, it’s specifically dollar bills y’all. All dollar bills! Look, before you start asking about the singles that are ready to mingle, think about it like this:

During the first outsets of a disaster where infrastructure is non-existent, power is not working, and cell service is out…all your precious credit cards, debit cards, and touchless pay methods will not work. Period.

So tried and true, cash talks. I deploy out with at least $200 in cash to supplement our operations.

Additionally, businesses may not have the capability to provide change so dollar bills will allow you to provide close monetary values for most products.

My esteemed colleague MaryJo Flynn is right, $2 bills would be good because it reduces your weight by 50%…aka 6 ounces. But regardless (or irregardless-eek), small bills/denominations are critical when prepping your kit.

Most definitely, don’t carry two $100 bill and expect change.

Some parts of the country still prefer cash so take that into consideration as you plan on the safety of your family and being able to provide for them during the first 72 hours of a disaster.

Now would be an excellent time to go to the bank and get your singles.

More easy tips tomorrow on your prep kit.

Reporting live and making it rain…..

@rusnivek

Without a doubt, you want to add this to your prep kit

Don’t bother looking, it’s still 2020 National Preparedness Month. As we start this work week, I realize many of you already have kits ready to go that include food for at least 72 hours.

GREAT!!!!! So proud of you.

Previous years, we’ve stressed the importance of having shelf-stable food per person for at least 3-days. And these MREs or Meals-Ready-To-Eat is a great example.

However, let’s be honest, MREs are NOT that delicious.

Well, maybe this one might be my new favorite.

(Special shout out to my Brothers from FEMA USAR Ohio Task Force-1 (OH-TF-1) on my new first out MRE)

But we also need to think about how you are going to augment that. An easy way to help support the lackluster food options in any disaster? Hot sauce.

And only one hot sauce supports weird 24-hour dietary needs with questionable shelf-stable requirements…Sriracha!

Sriracha has been supporting the palate needs of collegiate students for decades.

Here’s a quick video history on the Sriracha brand.

So this stuff is kinda magic on disasters and deployments. Basically anytime/anywhere.

How do I do it? If I am off to a stable deployment with more structure, I just take a simple bottle and throw it in my large duffel bag. Off we go!

However, if we are going into a contentious location where things may not be…the best, I will likely pack these guys.

Awwww yeah – single serving packets that help any meal anytime of the day. They can be carried on my person and discretely added to any meal. Additionally, the single serving can be helpful since carrying an entire bottle around might not be so….cool.

I see srircha as a necessity with the same importance of a can opener.

During our 2005 deployment to Hurricane Katrina/Rita, I remember food being quite terrible as our Task Force worked Louisiana’s Lower 9th Ward – St. Bernard Parish. Food was quite terrible and good hot sauce to mask bad tasting food was hard to find esp since everything was demolished there.

So get your self some hot sauce to augment your preparedness kits with your 3-days worth of shelf stable foods.

Keep it spicy folks!

Reporting live with my bag of deployment Srircha

@rusnivek

FEMA Basic Academy graduation – first one in Illinois

The time has come to welcome all of our graduates of the FEMA Basic Academy here at DuPage County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management!

“This is the first FEMA Basic Academy offered here in Illinois and we are proud to bring this Emergency Management foundation education here to DuPage County.” said Academy Instructor Kevin Sur. “The skills learned during this intensive course from November through March builds the framework for all Emergency Managers combining knowledge of all fundamental systems, concepts, and practices of leading actions for future leaders.”

The course started in November 2019 where participants were exposed to all mission areas including a myriad of case studies that highlighted the importance of collaboration and coordination in the response and recovery phase of any disaster or emergency.

In January 2020, participants took a deep dive into the science of disasters as well as planning to better help and understand the threats and dangers to each of their own communities.

To understand our hazards, we must understand legit science so that we can use the right resources to solve the problem.

The last week in March 2020, the class focused on the hot button topic of Homeland Security Exercise Evaluation Program and the Public Information and Warning course. Special thanks to new FEMA MEPP DuPage County OHSEM Sup Corey Mulryan for teaching with me on this one.

Participants debated the use of mass notification systems, social media in targeting specific audiences, and the value of the Public Information Officer (PIO) who’s role is so vital to the success of the agency.

Proud to be a part of the Instructional delivery team to get this first class here at DuPage County OHSEM.

Who’s who in the zoo? Well, we had participants from 6 different states, 3 different FEMA Regions with a diverse crowd from local, county, state, and Federal partners.

OUTSTANDING!!!!!

As we rolled into the graduation, I was able to make some opening remarks and thanking our most esteemed guests in the room.

Glad to hear from the new FEMA Region V Deputy Regional Administrator Kevin Sligh.

Deputy RA Sligh is a graduate of the program and is proud to see this foundational course being used as the marker of success for local Emergency Managers.

We also got a chance to hear from FEMA Region 5 Training & Exercise Manager Jessica Mitchell on the value of training. She is a proud resident of DuPage County.

And finally, to close things out, ladies and gents….put your hands together for Former IEMA Director and former Director of DuPage OHSEM….FEMA Region V Regional Administrator James Joseph!!!!

@rusnivek = #HypeMan

Great to hear his words of wisdom as his start here at DuPage and move on up has been solid.

Oh yeah…..social media. Yeah, I haven’t been posting a ton of stuff. Been concentrating on instruction and delivering the best class stuff.

Buttttttttttttttttttttttttt since I am one of the few FEMA Master PIOs, I figured it was only appropriate that I take a class selfie right?

#engagement #selfie

But seriously, I’m super proud of all the work that everyone contributed in class.

Lots of love for all of them.

More importantly, I know who I can count on during an activation/disaster.

Rusnivek’s 2020 Objective-1: Instructor certified FEMA Basic Academy – completed.

From the bottom of my heart, mahalos to my colleagues for the support throughout the academy.

Reporting live with a huge smile on my face…..

@rusnivek

Phil Politano ๐Ÿ˜ข

Earlier this week on Thursday, I was informed of the passing of Phil Politano.

๐Ÿ˜ข

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.

๐Ÿ˜ž ๐Ÿ˜” ๐Ÿ˜ข I’ve known Phil for years. ๐Ÿ˜ข

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

Itโ€™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

IPEM? Yep!

When I was deployed this summer with FEMA for the disaster response in Nebraska, I totally missed the State of Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) awarding me my official Illinois Professional Emergency Manager certification/designation.

Whohooooooooo – IPEM!

Special thanks to DHS/FEMA, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, and the DuPage County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management for their support in this process.

Reporting live from Illinois…

@MEPIrusnivek ๐Ÿ˜†

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