FEMA Basic Academy graduation – first one in Illinois

The time has come to welcome all of our graduates of the FEMA Basic Academy here at DuPage County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management!

“This is the first FEMA Basic Academy offered here in Illinois and we are proud to bring this Emergency Management foundation education here to DuPage County.” said Academy Instructor Kevin Sur. “The skills learned during this intensive course from November through March builds the framework for all Emergency Managers combining knowledge of all fundamental systems, concepts, and practices of leading actions for future leaders.”

The course started in November 2019 where participants were exposed to all mission areas including a myriad of case studies that highlighted the importance of collaboration and coordination in the response and recovery phase of any disaster or emergency.

In January 2020, participants took a deep dive into the science of disasters as well as planning to better help and understand the threats and dangers to each of their own communities.

To understand our hazards, we must understand legit science so that we can use the right resources to solve the problem.

The last week in March 2020, the class focused on the hot button topic of Homeland Security Exercise Evaluation Program and the Public Information and Warning course. Special thanks to new FEMA MEPP DuPage County OHSEM Sup Corey Mulryan for teaching with me on this one.

Participants debated the use of mass notification systems, social media in targeting specific audiences, and the value of the Public Information Officer (PIO) who’s role is so vital to the success of the agency.

Proud to be a part of the Instructional delivery team to get this first class here at DuPage County OHSEM.

Who’s who in the zoo? Well, we had participants from 6 different states, 3 different FEMA Regions with a diverse crowd from local, county, state, and Federal partners.

OUTSTANDING!!!!!

As we rolled into the graduation, I was able to make some opening remarks and thanking our most esteemed guests in the room.

Glad to hear from the new FEMA Region V Deputy Regional Administrator Kevin Sligh.

Deputy RA Sligh is a graduate of the program and is proud to see this foundational course being used as the marker of success for local Emergency Managers.

We also got a chance to hear from FEMA Region 5 Training & Exercise Manager Jessica Mitchell on the value of training. She is a proud resident of DuPage County.

And finally, to close things out, ladies and gents….put your hands together for Former IEMA Director and former Director of DuPage OHSEM….FEMA Region V Regional Administrator James Joseph!!!!

@rusnivek = #HypeMan

Great to hear his words of wisdom as his start here at DuPage and move on up has been solid.

Oh yeah…..social media. Yeah, I haven’t been posting a ton of stuff. Been concentrating on instruction and delivering the best class stuff.

Buttttttttttttttttttttttttt since I am one of the few FEMA Master PIOs, I figured it was only appropriate that I take a class selfie right?

#engagement #selfie

But seriously, I’m super proud of all the work that everyone contributed in class.

Lots of love for all of them.

More importantly, I know who I can count on during an activation/disaster.

Rusnivek’s 2020 Objective-1: Instructor certified FEMA Basic Academy – completed.

From the bottom of my heart, mahalos to my colleagues for the support throughout the academy.

Reporting live with a huge smile on my face…..

@rusnivek

FSE today for Regional JIC actions! #PIO

Busy morning as we started our full scale exercise (FSC) today.

As players rolled in, they signed in and were matched up to their projected Joint Information Center (JIC) positions.

Some issues encountered by the participants? They have never worked together.

Realistic? Yep. Soooooo this is why we train and exercise together during bright lights classroom time. Again, I continue to believe, the worst time to meet someone for the very first time is at 0300.

Some general rules about the FSE including our work here in the JIC.

Steve outlining the efforts of social media injects and the Twitter.

Aside from regular play, we also had some VIPs visit. Jane from City Council showed up and I was detailed to share some of the issues, deliverables, and progress each of the tables were making as they continued the scenario.

Our social media team was hard at work not only discerning info, but also considering prioritization of tweets, impact of posts, and of course exploring various other platforms that could provide better SA/COP from data mining the locale using social media.

Not only the use of Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram – but exploring SeeClickFix, Waze, Tinder, SnapChat, and a whole host of other platforms geared to provide information out in the field.

Here’s Erica questioning the viability of some posted information as well as verifying media info.

Say it with me: Trust, but VERIFY.

Our rumor control table helped provide supplemental documents as well as refined talking points for our social media teams as well as our on-camera talent. All bullet points right?

Assistant PIOs were hard at work discerning google docs for real time sharing of information.

Maintaining good tempo for a JIC Manager is crucial as they update themselves on the issues w/ the EOC as well as continue the message that matches w/ the SMART Objectives.

As time went on, we simulated a “change of command” where the JIC Manager formally passes command to the Deputy JIC Manager. Hint to new JIC Managers – to make this a smooth transition, you must train on this action.

***ICS reminder: The Deputy can assume the role of the primary position. An assistant cannot assume the role/duties of the primary position.

Meanwhile, us Controllers and Coaches got all the smiles.

Along with VIPs, we continue to stream Federal partners in to tour the working exercise JIC. Not only response questions, but long term viability and ongoing return to normalcy were stressed as we projected our move from response to recovery and how viable are the transportation companies.

See, recovery is critical right? Therefore resilience is critical for the community.

The Captain of the Port was able to brief out with all participants. Outstanding to have this kind of high level involvement in our FSE. Encouraging words to hear specifically addressing our nation”s current situation for security and safety.

Also, great messages of collaboration from the City/County Emergency Management Agencies on our FSE.

Additional discussion on upcoming evaluations and how hotwashes are critical as the team starts to piece together the AAR/IP.

But never fear, we did simulate a press conference lead off by the USCG Lt.

Joining the USCG leadership at the podium was EPA, and Mayor’s office.

Don’t worry, WSUR had some pressing questions like

  • How many are dead? (If you been through my Basic PIO course, you know this one)
  • Do you regularly train for this kind of emergency?
  • Have we been attacked before?
  • Are we currently under attack?
  • And the famous one: We got some leads from user generated comments but who is responsible for this horrific incident??

So I got a chance to discuss a few items from a training standpoint re: classes. Also a last minute pieces of encouragement for ongoing training and exercises as well as a strong guidance on planning ahead with everyone who is involved in the Regional Joint Information Center.

Glad to have soooooo many participants from diverse backgrounds involved in this exercise.

What a day!

Looking forward to seeing all of you on the next big one.

@rusnivek

Final day of OEMA ICS-400 at Belmont College #AlohaFriday

Final Day of Ohio Emergency Management Agency (OEMA) ICS-400 class.

img_1013

Lots of discussion on Area Command, MAC, Unified Command, EMAC, Declaration process, etc…

img_0927

Talking about MACs (not Big Macs) made me kinda hungry for lunch.

img_0992

Also discussion on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region-5 Regional Response Coordination Center (RRCC)…

img_1004

…and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Headquarters National Response Coordination Center (NRCC) in Washington DC.

img_0995

Cameo appearance by FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate

I don’t know about your ICS-400 class, but my class was all smiles.

img_1015-copy

And yes, no worries, I’m wearing an #AlohaShirt today.

Special thanks to Belmont College for hosting this great OEMA class.

img_1024

Happy #AlohaFriday everyone!

@rusnivek

 

Sharing preparedness tips with PIOs across the country #NatlPrep #PrepareAthon

I frequently present to Public Information Officers / Public Affairs Officers (PIOs & PAOs) across the country and talk extensively about preparedness.

IMG_0921

For those that were wondering about the class attire, many of my classes get scheduled on a Friday aka #AlohaFriday

Proud to say that so many of them love the job and enjoy sharing ways to increase safety in all communities with FEMA’s Ready.Gov Program.

allhazardspublicsafety

Your local Fire, EMS, Law Enforcement, and Emergency Management agencies are a great starting point for preparedness activities. Then all state safety agencies and Federal partners cooperate top down with many key organizations across the country.

That’s right. Local works with state works with regional works with national.

 

Happy #AlohaFriday peeps!

FEMANPM2016_logo_vFinal_medium

“Don’t Wait. Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today.”

@rusnivek

Well….that was fun

Well…that was fun.

Giving a few tips on Ebola safety/preparedness was quite…interesting.

ebolaaaa

I decided I couldn’t respond to the entire world’s Ebola concerns, but responding to those in the general vicinity would be more social because I’m local to the area in the geocode.

10-13-14at2330 - Copy

I did a simple geolocation on all the tweets, using DT Cleveland as center (N: 41.502715 x W: -81.695709) in a 62 mile circular radius that specifically used the term “ebola” in tweets/responses.

Easy Cheesey huh?

Wash your hands peeps.

@rusnivek

All-Hazardy participation and collaboration for flooding

Great first day in our flood course here at Ohio EMA in Columbus.

Bu1Xa6pCQAA0NCj

I am fortunate that the participants in this class have outstanding stories from previous declarations and experiences from local, state, and regional responses during emergency flooding.

Some have shared their 500 year flooding stories from just the past 7 years (and clearly, it’s time to revisit the categorization and re-term these floods). 

Bu3e4ZYCMAARvKt

Here, FEMA staff, Ohio EMA staff, Ohio National Guard, and local Fire/Rescue services collectively discuss creative options to better serve numerous vulnerable population communities during an emergency evacuation during flooding.

IMHO, I really enjoy seeing this type of All-Hazardy professionals at the table.

Collaborating early can only strengthen joint response during any disaster.

@rusnivek

 

Ice and Water Rescue in NW Ohio – All-Hazards Full Scale Exercise

Spending a bunch of time in NW Ohio with several emergency services agencies focused in on Water/Ice Rescue.

IMG_5579

Did some GPS coordinate work, observation and recon work, and of course some grid search pattern work.

IMG_5570

A few of my peeps testing their newly acquired National Incident Management System (NIMS) Incident Command System (ICS) concepts.

IMG_5576

Had a chance to interact with a few of the NW Ohio water rescue resources as well as a few aeromedical agencies too.

IMG_5603

I’m glad to see so many willing all-hazards participants involved in this exercise.

IMG_5581

Also glad to see local and regional law enforcement participation in the day’s events too.

IMG_5567

Despite relatively colder temps, all crews managed to say jovial and warm.

IMG_5557 - Copy

Thanks again to my cadre of ICS Subject Matter Experts in Operations, Logistics, Public Information, Communications, and Air Operations who assisted today with evaluation.

@rusnivek