Forming the proverbial PIO Voltron for today’s FEMA JIC/JIS course

And now starting the FEMA JIC/JIS Course with our class here at the Defiance County EMA Emergency Operations Center.

And yes, if you’ve been in a JIC/JIS class w/ me before, you know I talk about Voltron. In the FEMA Basic PIO Course, we teach you to be an individual PIO and function with limited options…however, the JIC/JIS course allows you to join forces with other PIOs and work the magic despite being from different backgrounds and different factions for the emergency or disaster. That’s right-we can all get along in the JIC.

Starting out the day with a cold reality check on expectations and capabilities as we assess our options and ready our agencies for disasters. It would be a good idea to have a clear understanding of the situation and build from there.

Additionally, we bring our all-hazards partners into the fold. Here’s Sister Michael Marie talking about the complexities of what appears as a simple emergency that could quite result in bringing soooooooooooooooooooooo many partners to respond to this typical emergency.

Drawing too simple for you?

You need more description?

NO SOUP FOR YOU!

The whole point of the exercise is to get your mind thinking about various options as well as partners to call early as likely, they have a dog in the fight to help any affected community recover from any disaster.

Look, it’s more than Fire, Police, and EMS – it’s the #WholeCommunity to build a culture of preparedness.

Proud of every single one of these participants as everyone walked away with a new understanding and respect for the PIO. While some have been on TV before w/ a few interviews, all of them realize the dangers of an unprepared interviewee.

Looking forward to working with all of you on the next big one. And just think…in the midst of a disaster, you just might see these two smiling faces.

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

@rusnivek

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

#MediaMinutes interview w/ RTV6 Paris Lewbel

As part of our ongoing efforts to help enhance the skills of the PIO, here’s another #MediaMinutes interview w/ RTV6 Paris Lewbel.

For more information on Paris:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/plewbel

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/plewbel

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/plewbel/

Almost Friday folks….you can do it!

@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

Crisis Comms meetings at ARC Chicago

Afternoon meetings with the Communications team with the Red Cross of Chicago!

Case studies? Social media? Response training? Media training? Yeppers, all of that stuff for for the L-team to boots-on-the-ground staff.

Looking forward to some upcoming Crisis Comms training with all their staff.

@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

 

 

Reporting live from the ABC7 studios in downtown Chicago!

Good afternoon from the floor of the ABC7 studio here in Chicago!

A much more compact location, ABC7 does an excellent job in maximizing space in their main studio area.

Also got a chance to chat w/ a few reporters in the bullpen as we took the time to see how the TV magic (aka sausage) is made.

It was satisfying to see all the TVs and monitors in one of the control rooms. Soooooo many buttons to push….

I doubt they would let me touch anything in here.

It honestly intrigues me…isn’t the news room kinda similar to the EOC? Desk assignment is kinda like the Operations Section Chief (OSC) right?

As an example, the OSC assigns tasks to the single resources (reporters aka MMJs) and then they do stuff. The desk assignment editors listen and find out what’s going on around the area (aka situational awareness) right?

Then they send the appropriate amount of resources needed to cover their story. DUH! It IS a good example of ICS. And you know I was closely looking at what they were watching and listen into right?

Obvs!

Special thanks to the entire team at ABC7 for the tour of their crib! Great to see so many different pros at work and major kudos to those who take the time to create a great story and maintain the integrity of a journalist.

Looking forward to working together!

@rusnivek