Site visit ending up at AFD Station-8

Is it kinda like the elephant march when we line up ambulances outside?

Overcast dreary morning as we continue to support our public safety pros in the field 24/7. No rest for the weary!

But after Chicago, I was able to switch out to Aurora Station-8 as we discuss some ongoing issues and see how we can creatively explore more training/exercises to increase partnerships/coordination.

Lots of discussion on our ongoing FEMA Emergency Management Basic Academy as we continue to share the good that the DuPage County OHSEM does for all  partners.

Sometimes it’s difficult for people to understand that Emergency Management is a different field than 30 years in the fire service or 30 years at the police department or 30 years working at an EMS service. Definitely not the same.

So in that same vein, we need to tailor our classes and exercises to address the all-hazards approach and address all partners.

We are fortunate that our classes are geared to hit all 15 Federal Emergency Support Functions (ESFs) in accordance with national plans. Our guidance is clear as we align with national doctrine, state grants/guidance, and local response plans to coordinate and execute any needed response plans.

The crux is that Emergency Management in the EOC will be the coordinating entity during any emergency or disaster. Period.

In order for locals to execute, State to manage, and Federal to assist and support, we need to have a firm understanding of what happens every step of the way. I am proud of my staff for taking the time to see these things through and explore options for our public safety pros.

No doubt, these are the kinds of things that make our EM stronger and solid at supporting our peeps 24/7/365. We in Emergency Management must continue to build a rock solid collaborative effort with our key players so that when we need to exercise or execute, we can do it seamlessly.

Special thanks to the men and women at the Aurora Fire Station 8 for their warm hospitality. Looking forward to seeing all of you in class and future exercises.

Reporting live from the bay floors between Truck-6 and Engine-99…I mean Engine-8…

@rusnivek

Final day of the FEMA Basic Academy Planning Emergency Operations course

Final day of the FEMA Emergency Management Basic Academy here DuPage County OHSEM. Lots of discussion about EOPs and #THIRA planning.

Enhancing the skills of our most trusted partners from Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Illinois.

More group work as we address planning for our Whole Community response and recovery in this planning class.

Solid collaboration from all public safety representatives from local to Federal level.

Final group activity as we continue to enhance our Emergency Operations Plans.

Lots of discussion on sharing timely and critical information with access & functional needs populations.

Closing out this week’s packed FEMA Basic Academy on Aloha Friday.

Many thanks to local, county, state, and Federal officials/leaders attending representing FEMA Region 5 and FEMA Region 7.

@rusnivek

COOP kinda day with a unicorn, ARC, and the big DHS IG Pro

Tuesday morning and we’re talking about national continuity!

To some, it may not be exciting. BUT Continuity of Operations (COOP) is so critical to any organization esp to the resilience of any community post-disaster. So I was STOKED to see that I was invited by the National Continuity Division to be a part of the new FEMA COOP class.

And I was even more stoked to be sitting next to the class unicorn.

You see, if we as educators look outside our normal circles and lean on others from various agencies, there is much to learn. We had fine representation from numerous agencies from across the country.

For my lunch meeting I opted for a mini SMEM meetup with the American Red Cross Keith Robertory (@krobertory). We have been following for YEARS but have never met in real life.

Amazing these social media relationships because in our discussion, we have lots and lots in common. Friends, disasters, the list goes on and on…

Speaking of disasters, look who I found….

Streeeeeeeeeeeeeter! Yeah, we kinda twinsies today.

OK, I better get back to class. COOP/COG time!

Reporting live from C Street….

@rusnivek

City of Chicago OEMC, JIC, PSAP, and other stuff while hanging in the Bat cave

Good morning from the City of Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications!

Located in the heart of the west loop, this multi functional location serves as a focal point for City EOC, JIC, Snow Command, PW EOC, Ops Center, 911 PSAP, etc….basically, I’m glad it’s a hardened facility.

Today’s Emergency Management topics have to deal with Disaster Assistance and Public Assistance. Hiya Wendellllllllllllllllllllllllll.

Of course, as a good Emergency Manager, we want to take a look at the host city’s EOP.

Lots to discern and digest from our partners.

Now, for those who refuse to share information and hold information tight to their chest….that’s dumb. You realize when the big one hits, your isolationist actions will prove to be detrimental to the success of the response/recovery of any emergency. Again, work closely with your partners BEFORE a disaster.

Looking down into the PSAP center floor, lots of call takers working the good for the community.

PSAPs and EOCs are kept relatively dark to help with eye strain. Telecommunications have a tough job. If you haven’t already done so, I’d recommend that you sit in their chair one day and observe. Quite honestly, I’d take working the squad any day.

Quick look into the City of Chicago’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) too.

And calm yourself PIOs….I found it.

Get your City of Chicago Joint Information Center (JIC) on baby! I sense I will be spending activation time here soon.

And yes, I’m wearing a tie.

As we close out response/recovery discussions for the day, we must spend more time thinking about cross training and enhancing our multi-jurisdictional skills. Working together is critical to any event or incident. We must overcome the stigma and the predisposed notion of kingdoms and fiefdoms. We must work together before a disaster. This will result in better response collaboration and recovery efforts.

Where am I? They threw up the bat signal so….

Reporting live from the Bat Cave:

I’m Batman….I mean @rusnivek

Internal Comms training for my #EmergencyManagement staff

As we continue our training, we want to be cognizant of all kinds of skills needed to be successful in Emergency Management.

Many of you have been apart of a training or exercise…and have indubitably identified that communications is an action that needs more work. But how can you make that fun? Well, enter one of my Thunderbolt-esque exercises.

Giving the nod to former FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, these types of no-notice trainings engage our staff and forces them to think outside the box.

How outside? In this exercise, we cover

  • Communications
  • Type/Kind resources
  • Staging
  • Incident Command
  • Terminology
  • Nomenclature
  • Scene size-ups
  • Operations
  • Sequential
  • Prioritization
  • Ordering
  • Tactics

And to boot, it’s non-traditional training cause there are no powerpoints. Zero. Zilch. No joy. Gonzo. Nada Ghostrider.

As adult educators, we often forget that people learn things differently. Additionally, we as instructors need to explore outside our comfort zone and teach things in a classic lecture AND non-traditional style.

I am incredibly fortunate to have a staff that loves to train and enhance their skills. Train like you fight!

Want to know more? Want to train better? Come and be a part of my Emergency Management Team. You’ll see.

@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

Day-2 of the new FEMA Region V COOP Course

Starting off day–2 of the new FEMA COOP class.

Solid discussion lead by Northwestern Medicine’s Continuity Manager Sam with our all-hazards pros on alternate locations including cold, warm, and hot EOCs.

Not only locations, but also triggers on when to move emergency operations centers. These kinds of discussions also spark debate on levels of activation as well as essential personnel. We openly discuss triggers and standards that help make it easy for COOP Managers and leadership to roll out their continuity plan.

As we identify specific incidents and actions needed, we can also assess viability of personnel and staff….ESSENTIAL staff to these secure national COOP locations like

<redacted>

<redacted>

<redacted>

Additionally, we focus in on the importance of not only writing a plan, but also exercising a plan. Good dialog w/ Joe on the city of Aurora’s exercise plans.

While not as sexy as response or even preparedness, these kinds of continuity exercises test recovery. Can’t begin to tell you how important that is to your constituents esp when things are going to 💩. Catastrophic planning is only as good as your last exercise – trust me, when faced with crisis, people will not always do the most common sense thing.

Why is our agency leaning in on the COOP stuff? Well, if all goes according to my plan, we should have at five (5) Master Continuity Practitioners on our staff. Awwwww yeah!

As we close up, Sam leads the post test wrap up to evaluate that level II retention that FEMA EMI loves.

In the end, when you see the participants smiling and hearing their responses in how they are going to directly implement these new rollouts and changes to the plans….is so gratifying.

I am proud of the work we do in Emergency Management. As an instructor I expect a lot out of you. And your students most definitely do too.

As an instructor, your influence to your participants can generate enthusiasm beyond expectation. Dedication is critical to the success of your mission. I am thankful for all the smiles in our FEMA Region 5 COOP class on this #AlohaFriday.

@rusnivek