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-1 at Summit County (OH) Public Health

Another fine start to the FEMA Basic Public Information Officer class here in Summit County, Ohio!

Many thanks to the pros at the Summit County Health Department who are hosting this week’s class.

Outstanding hospitality as always!

And of course special thanks to Jena Beckett and the team from Summit County EMA for enhancing their team’s knowledge on the fun of being a Public Information Officer!

We are in the command room this week so you know it’s serious!

As always, we lay the groundwork for successful operations for any PIO.

But we also share real-world experiences that could help in their daily routines to better their visibility. And yes, of course we still do all the media mock interviews.

Public health is a great partner when it comes to outbreaks and opioid intervention tactics so many of our participants opted to test their media skills on an outbreak and response.

Also great to have former Columbus newsies Rachel Feeley on our PIO side (now with Ohio Department of Health) as we continue our mock interviews for everyone.

See, deep down inside, some reporters want to be public safety PIOs. šŸ¤£

For those newly assigned PIOs, we get them on camera as soon as possible!

The whole idea is that we expose new PIOs to this kind of media interview(s) so they aren’t shocked the first time they do it in real life. It’s always a bit more nerve racking when you are n00b PIO and have a bunch of mics and high intensity lights shoved in your face during the start of a major disaster or crisis.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand finally, a big shout out to my team across this great nation as FEMA turns 40 this week!

Here’s a quick video that External Affairs put together.

Proud to work along side all of you through countless disasters.
@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

Day-2 of the FEMA OEMA G0290: Basic #PIO at Cleveland EOC

Day-2 of the FEMA Basic PIO Course in Cleveland, Ohio!!! Starting out the day with one of the best JIC Managers in the biz, ladies and gents, one of the orig FEMA Master PIOs put your hands together for ERICA CREECH!!!!!

Sharing her experiences with the class on PIOs and coordination was critical in countless EOC and JIC activations.

In a heartbeat, I’d work for Erica any day in the JIC.

Don’t worry, we jumped back on the train (FEMA’s powerpoint slides) to talk and debate about press releases.

Since Steve is from media, he loves his inverted pyramid. But are press releases valuable? Needed? Seems we had quite the spirited discussion on the necessity and timely appeal of press releases.

After lunch, we were fortunate enough to grab, IMHO, the best of the best media talent in Cleveland.

Fox8: Jennifer Steer (@jensteer)

WOIO-19: Chris Tanaka (@Chris_Tanaka)

WEWS-5: Homa Bash Ball (@HomaBashWEWS)

WKYC-3: Barry Wolf (@photowolfTV)

Cleveland PlainDealer: Ginger Christ (@GChristCLE)

These pros not only talk a good game, but their social media skills are top shelf! I submit to you Barry’s fashion selfie from the front of the room.

Solid!

These folks were able to dedicate their time to answer any I mean ANY questions that our new PIOs had.

Proud to see new relationships and transparency with all parties involved.

Why? We hear of soooo many bad interactions and exchanges with the media. This kind of engagement showcases that if we work together and we share our knowledge of ongoing issues, we can help each other out.

I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am to see this kind of action happening in class.

Like nurturing new PIOs and helping them network…OMG THIS IS WHAT EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT IS ALL ABOUT!!!!!!!!

Yeah yeah, I’ll get off the soapbox now.

But seriously, this media panel has been one of my absolute favorites to have because….well, because of this…

Brah, Tanaka’s got some seriously good selfie skillz. Many mahalos to all of my media panel that showcased the best of TV news media.

After the media panel left, we reviewed all of our on camera interviews.

Sharing our challenges but learning from others in a productive and positive way increases participant on camera skills.

To close out the day, we also had our second and most lauded PIO stop by. Ladies and gents, the orig filmmaker himself, raise the roof cause it’s Cleveland Fire very own PIO Mike Noooooooooooorman!!!!!!!

Glad to spend a few minutes with fire’s new PIO who jumped head first into the role for CFD. FYI-Mike was a participant in a class that Steve and I taught in Summit County Ohio so we are proud to see him flourishing in his role at CFD.

Outstanding and super fun day with everyone. Back at it tomorrow with another special guest and to talk about JIC/JIS!

@rusnivek

FEMA OEMA G0290: Basic #PIO at the City of Cleveland EOC!

Outstanding start to this week’s FEMA G0290: Basic PIO course sponsored by Ohio EMA and the City of Cleveland Emergency Management!

Special thanks to CEM Alex Pellom for the invitation to hang for a few days in the Emergency Operations Center!

Guess who I get to teach with this week? Fresh off the disaster wheel, Assistant Fire Chief Steve Bosso!!!

Don’t mind his grumps face, you’d be a bit tired if you were EMACed to work Hurricane Florence too. I’m excited to hear about his experience working with South Carolina’s Emergency Management Division PIO Derrec Becker.

And yes, if you were wondering, we are holding class IN the actual City of Cleveland Emergency Operations Center!

Interviews? Heck yeah – you know we did!

Incredibly valuable time on camera.

Spent some time doing group work and communications strategy with many partners from across the State of Ohio and the State of Pennsylvania.

Showcasing partnerships and strengthening collaborative messaging during the preparedness…

…will help during response phase planning and support for ongoing operations.

Additionally the blending of resources embodying the all-hazards mentality, is critical when dealing with larger disasters/emergencies. Here’s Police, Fire, EMS, Health, Public Works, and Executive Policy working together for a coordinated message.

Steve had a few injects too…like branding. Steve is a former photojournalist so he’s got the photog eye for these kinds of thingsĀ with some fancy camera work…

And not to worry, in order to share real world experiences, we had our first subject matter expert – Cleveland Police Public Information Officer Jennifer Ciaccia stop by to talk about her experiences as the PIO for CPD.

So many issues to deal with esp during a National Special Security Event (NSSE) – the 2016 Republican National Convention! And of course a whole bunch of other cases including the 3 girls missing for 10+ years (Castro case), Facebook killer, CJ Saves CLE, St. Patrick’s Day Parade, etc….

Whew – full day! Great dynamic class.

Solid first day. Looking forward to day-2 of the Basic PIO!

@rusnivek