Acting Secretary Wolf Statement on the Confirmation of Pete Gaynor:

Acting Secretary Wolf Statement on the Confirmation of Pete Gaynor:

Release Date: January 14, 2020

“Today, the U.S. Senate confirmed Pete Gaynor to be Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). As Acting Administrator of FEMA throughout 2019 and into 2020, Gaynor led the agency’s recovery efforts for many devastating disasters, including the California wildfires, tornado outbreaks, severe storms, flooding in the Midwest, and the Puerto Rico earthquakes. And as Deputy Administrator for the 2018 hurricane season, Pete guided FEMA through some tremendous challenges to provide much needed assistance to disaster survivors across the country. Pete’s experience as both a state and local emergency manager, combined with more than two decades of service in the U.S. Marine Corps, have made him an invaluable leader of the agency. I look forward to continuing to work with him to support the men and women of FEMA as they carry out their incredible work.”

Congrats to FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor on his confirmation today!

@rusnivek

 

Phil Politano 😢

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

😢

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.

😞 😔 😢 I’ve known Phil for years. 😢

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

Congrats on PGFD’s PIO Mark Brady

Congrats to Prince George County Fire PIO Mark Brady on a well deserved upcoming retirement from decades of service to public safety and PIOs.

I have been fortunate to know and work with Mark over the years in professional circles. Legit nice guy and consummate professional.

When I received this note, I was exhausted from working back-to-back Hurricane Irma/Maria Type-1 Federal disasters for months. Worked to the bone and getting very little sleep, I wasn’t quite sure what was going on.

I am grateful for Mark’s specific note to me. And in PIO classes, I talk frequently about Mark’s actions but when it comes to nurturing/growing PIOs, Mark took the time to check in on my well being and safety. Trust me when I tell you, I needed to see this note.

Related: For those that used Brady EMS books, that would be the same family – so yeah, Mark’s family is a legacy in public safety.

Congrats Mark. Enjoy retirement. Indeed, our paths will cross again. #PIO

@rusnivek

Less shorts, more pro

In reviewing a few clips that were sent to me, I realize that people, even in an emergency, are judging our performance.

Take for example, this FDNY member who is seen in a video here on a rescue of a patient on the train tracks.

Welp, I am sure the Firefighter in shorts wasn’t trying to make a statement, but the public questioned his attire.

Maybe those shorts are approved attire for train response. I dunno.

Maybe he was wear testing for new uniform trial. I dunno.

Maybe he was working out when he got the call and couldn’t get dressed in time. I dunno.

Either way, the comments and pause it gave the general public was thought provoking and likens it to the same mantra we should be touting as we roll into 2020: WE ARE ALWAYS ON STAGE.

Quite honestly, your PIO(s) would not want to deal with this apparel issues.

Regardless of the temps or fashion, we should be cognizant of our apparel as we roll out to save lives.

While long pants doesn’t make us better at our jobs, it does provide a sense of unity and uniform.

Less shorts, more pro.

@rusnivek

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

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