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

FEMA basic Social Media for Disaster Response and Recovery #Arizona

Good morning Arizonaaaaaaaaaa!

Welcome to the Pima County Emergency Management Agency as we kick off another basic Social Media for Disaster Response and Recovery class. Welcome intros from Training Manager Sandra Espinoza.

Glad to see so many agencies from across the state represented here in class today. Additionally, also good to be teaching with fellow Tier-1 Instructor Mary Jo Flynn.

As you know, MaryJo is a Region 9er too (Sacramento, CA).

Like a good Emergency Manager, I’m always looking at what other agencies have and how they do business. And yes, I esp look at what kind of creature comforts they have in their EOC. And without a doubt, I’d swipe right for this amenity in my EOC.

The folks at Pima County EMA are most definitely proud to have this amenity. #TotesJelly.

As a basic class, we are constantly talking about new apps and features. Here’s MaryJo talking about the FEMA App and their Disaster Reporter feature.

And you know that privacy is a huge concern so we spend a bit on making sure your settings as a government agency as well as personal settings are up to date.

Yes, make sure all your social media stuff is in order before a disaster…or else.

Most seasoned pros know that real Emergency Managers can adapt to most any situations. Big or small, tough or easy, we are flexible and can adapt to anything.

For those are worried about MaryJo and little old me? No worries. We are assimilating in here just fine.

Giddup – reporting live from our stagecoach!

@rusnivek

Preparedness efforts – continuing to build a Culture of Preparedness

Day-2 teaching at the Effingham County (Illinois) Emergency Operations Center on Preparedness for senior caregivers.

Great discussion from participants from all over the State of Illinois including various Emergency Management, Health Departments, Public Information Officers, Non-governmental organizations (NGOs), public works, communications, law enforcement, fire departments, hospitals, and emergency medical services.

Great to share and continue to enhance the capabilities of communities across this great nation which include DHS/FEMA, but also our local/state partners, private sector, and all citizens.

As usual, we are all proud to continue build our Culture of Preparedness.

@rusnivek

Instructing FEMA NDPTC Winter Weather Hazards at Effingham County EOC #Illinois

Starting out the morning in Illinois at the Effingham County Emergency Operations Center!

Glad to see sooooo many smiling faces here to learn about preparedness and science with our efforts to better prepare our public safety partners on winter weather hazards.

And sharing how critical the National Weather Service is to our daily response and every single Emergency Operations Center is essential for all professionals in any emergency. No matter where you are in the US, there is a NWS office to support your daily operations.

Sharing important information on the science of weather including how to discern these crazy charts, graphs, and data make it easier to understand how tough meteorologists have it when trying to forecast the weather.

And sharing real case studies and discussion the evolution of how response officials work together is critical for any community across this great nation.

Teaching at Effingham County helped me realize they got some really cool stuff here (aka Emergency Management toys resources!)

Special shout out to Pam and the entire crew at Effingham County EMA as well as everyone in Illinois Region-9.

Looking forward to seeing all of you at the next big one!

@rusnivek

Monday = Debris Management!

Starting out this week talking about Debris Management and the importance of Public Works and Logistics!

Yeah, doesn’t seem like a fun topic right? But if you look at the real deal, this is how Emergency Managers earn their keep. Cause it’s not in the response phase.

Emergency Managers work the magic in the recovery phase.

Collaboration in class means that we hash out a few issues prior to the actual disaster.

Working closely with all factions in government will ensure a smooth response from everyone involved.

The faster you get your community back on track, the better your community will be. Building resilient communities is critical!

You should address 10 major factors as part of your debris plan.

Is this difficult? Most definitely. Here’s a picture from the USVI in 2017.

Here’s a picture from the USVI in November 2018.

Can you think of any planning challenges? Any logistical issues? Any major environmental issues?

If you said a million yeseseses to the above three questions, you need to address your debris management plan with your Emergency Management official.

Special mahalos to my Co-instructor Ben.

Sharing a few stories about counter intelligence, we realize it’s a really small world.

@rusnviek