Bridges are out…now whut? #NatlPrep

As we near the end of the first week, we should also consider our planning and look at evacuation routes. As far as things go, most major routes should be open esp in emergency to allow for those who need to egress to GTFO of there right?!?

While in perfect situations, this would be the case. But lately, we’ve had some challenging situations across the nation that leads me to believe we may not have the option to evacuate safety out of the city.

While most days, all the bridges are down in Chicago.

Chicago Hotel Packages Add Spice to the Weekend

However the City of Chicago has had some bad luck and was forced to pop the bridges to curtail silly behavior at night.

With almost all the bridges up, that makes travel through the loop a bit more complex and challenging esp when things happen last minute and late at night.

To help deal with these challenging situations, subscribing to the mass notification systems would provide additional information on which roads are closed but amidst the ruckus, perhaps planning alternate routes out of your location would be best.

Easier said than done but necessary when faced with pressures of the safety of yourself and your family.

While it doesn’t have to be a straight shot out, you can exercise various options on how to exit your location and safely rondevous with loved ones in other places.

Remember, plan at least two alternate routes of egress from your location and try your hardest to reduce the amount of complexity after a disaster/emergency.

As always, remain vigilant and make sure you and your family are safe by planning now.

Reporting live on AlohaFriday…

@rusnivek

Assigned to Aurora Police for the day

This past week, I got a chance to spend some time with Aurora (Illinois) Police.

Like a good guy, you never want to show up empty handed. So yeah, I brought donuts for everyone.

Like lotsa power rings!

Lots of love to all our partners in public safety.

Rolling out with PO Weaver and instantly, we head out!

For those that were wondering if we did some karaoke?

Hmmmm, well you know we talked about TikTok.

But yeah, we did discuss lots on protocol and training.

Then roll call with Sgt Gallardo and the second shift crew.

Love the collaboration and shared deets – definitely embodies the situational awareness/common operating picture.

As we rolled out of the station, we were called to another call with a bit more challenges.

Involving Fire, EMS, Police – all safety forces were engaged on this complex situation.

Great to see all pros working together onscene!

At the end of the day, lots of discussion on training and exercises specifically addressing ESF15 and the JIC actions.

For those that want more details from Aurora (Illinois) Police, here’s how:

Twitter: @AuroraPoliceIL

Facebook: Aurora Illinois Police Department

Instagram: @AuroraPoliceIL

Special thanks to the Aurora Police for the fun stuff.

Stay warm and keep up the great work!

@rusnivek

Day-2 of the FEMA Basic PIO Course here in KY

Day-2 of the FEMA Basic Public Information Officer Course here.

Glad to finally meet Lexington Fire Capt Jessica Bowman who is also one of the FEMA Master PIOs.

Great day to share some of the tools we use as PIOs. Here’s Sherelle and John talking about the importance and fashionable safety vests are for officials onscene.

Additionally, we discussed media being well visible as their safety is incredibly important. We can’t have our friends in the news business get hurt or become part of the incident.

And trust me, the more people who get injured in an incident, the more paperwork we all have to fill out….so be safe!

As usual, we had a very seasoned media panel from WLEX18 Bill Wilcox and Herald Leader Peter Baniak. Many thanks to both news organizations to spend time out of their busy schedule to spend with PIOs from across the state.

With all Basic PIO classes, we talk about the ability and flexibility for PIOs to do field reporting. Often times, reporters can’t get to a scene because of traffic or lack of staffing. Either way, we as government PIOs can help them out by packaging information they need from the scene. The tools needed to produce this kind of info is fairly easy to get, however the challenge is to put them into play.

By sharing the tactics and tools in class, I am able to improve the skills of any PIO by enhancing their ability to share solid timely and TRUSTED information with any of the targeted audiences.

As PIOs, we are beholden to so many audiences.

  • Public
  • Media
  • Leadership
  • Our internal teams.

At times, our job seems easy however once you dive into it, you can see the complexities of our efforts.

Don’t worry, we reviewed all mock on camera interviews. Tackled key concepts like redirects as well as some tips on how to give more positive non-verbals while being interviewed during crisis.

Super fun day with everyone. Lots of contributions from our partners from Fire, EMS, Police, Emergency Management, Energy, Coroner’s Office, Higher Education, Search and Rescue.

Looking forward to tomorrow’s FEMA JIC/JIS course!

Reporting live from the EOC….

@rusnviek

FEMA Basic PIO course at the PSOC

Morning start to the FEMA Basic Public Information Officer course at the Public Safety Operations Center (PSOC)

Welcome and good morning by Mr. JB himself!

Packed house with multiple disciplines represented from Fire, EMS, Police, Emergency Management, ESF-12, higher education, Search and Rescue, Coroners Office, etc…

Like a good Emergency Manager, I found the EOC.

They have soooo many tools and toys to play with!

As all FEMA Basic PIO courses, we are staunch advocates of putting all participants in front of the camera. No matter what kind of experience level or years in the position, you can always learn by practicing your skills in front of others.

We typically hear complaints.

  • I didn’t get enough time to prepare.
  • I didn’t get the information in time.
  • I don’t know anything about plane crashes!

Blah blah blah. But the reality of the situation is….IT HAPPENS LIKE THAT IN REAL LIFE!!!!!!!!

So yeah, we want to train like you fight.

For those that were wondering “Has this ever happened before?” Yes.

Looking forward to tomorrow day-2 with our news media panel, interview reviews, and focus on social media.

@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

Forming the proverbial PIO Voltron for today‚Äôs 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

2019 May is cray!

Justin Timberlake better be busy too because this month because it’s about to get redic.

First week in May, our team was invited to teach ICS-300: Intermediate ICS to leadership staff at the Illinois Air National Guard.

Second week, will be the ICS-400 class and the solid bunch of social media classes (Basic Social Media, Social Media Engagement Strategies, Social Media Tools and Techniques).

Third week, we will be popping the FEMA G0290/0291 Basic PIO and JIC/JIS course with one of my favorite FEMA DSASers…Sister Michael!

Fourth week, I will be presenting at the 2019 National Preparedness Symposium at the Center for Domestic Preparedness in Alabama.

And the last week is the full set of FEMA Basic PIO and JIC/JIS Course at Aurora Police.

If you are calculating that out, that’s 128 hours of straight classroom time.

Fortunately, I enhanced the playlist this past weekend.

Headphones in, affirm the mission and objectives, head down…No time for rest.

@rusnivek

Cold weather prep and our strong partnership with NWS Chicago

On the ready! So many things happen behind the scenes as Emergency Management Pros continue to plan and coordinate in prep for the severe cold weather inbound to our area of responsibility (AOR).

Our rock solid partnership with the National Weather Service Chicago continues to shine as we share information to our partners as well as the general public. Incorporating additional info like the Frostbite vs Hypothermia fact sheet from CDC is a bonus as we look to temps falling into the mid -20s with the windchill to reach -50 to -60.

Yikes is right.

If all predictions are correct, the forecasted temperatures are historic lows.

Our staff is currently conducting a conference call with police, fire, public works, and emergency management agencies within to discuss the extreme cold weather event tonight through Thursday.

All hands working!

Also, thanks for the briefing Ricky from the NWS Chicago!

@rusnivek