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

Last day ICS-300 at DWFD

Day-3 and final day of ICS-300 here at Darien Woodridge Fire.

Lots of discussion on collaboration and teamwork esp in a crisis/emergency. And bringing our partners to the table with a solid understanding of a coordinated all-hazards response is crucial to a successful response/recovery.

Many of the scenarios in the new 2019 version of ICS-400 are based on real-life events which make it easier to parle the teaching points.

Either way, the capstone activity brings all factions together. Regardless of Public Works, Fire, EMS, Police, Health Department, Government officials, heck even out of state response officials, we can now work more cohesively together in disaster response/recovery.

Special thanks to Fire Chief Gorsky and all the fire shifts at DWFD for the warm hospitality this week.

Happy AlohaFriday everyone!

Hope to see you next week for ICS-400!

@rusnivek

It’s all smiles in day-2 of ICS-300 at DWFD

Starting off our day-2 of ICS-300 here at DWFD with Jake and Elwood!

You know those two jokers executed their plans…to get the band back together.

This morning, we are joined by another representative from Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) Region 4 Trainer Wendell Brewer!

Hope to lean on his recent expertise as a MEPP throughout the day.

Additionally, I got several inquiries on training that pertains to timely and proximity to the holidays (specifically any classes in December).

Look, it’s only December 6th. You need to calm down. You’re being too loud.

In short, disasters don’t take holidays or extended vacations. And neither do we. I am proud to see so many public safety partners attending our class from across the country.

Today, we hit the Planning P in full force as we brief our partners with the deets on the tactics meeting. We also dive deep on how important the ICS forms are (esp the 215 and 215A) for all tacticians and deployed personnel. I believe these two forms are critical to every single Incident Action Plans (IAP).

And for those that took ICS courses and thought they were boring and a waste of time or had poor instruction….that’s your fault.

Here’s proof that ICS participants, if provided solid instruction, can enjoy training and smile throughout class. I would say that the smiles probably help nurture transparent and dynamic conversation in class to solve legit problems that face any government agency. Sooooooo critical for any agency leader.

So go ahead and continue to complain about your experiences. Perhaps you just haven’t found an agency that provides solid instructors with real-world experiences that nurtures coordination and collaboration.

And as a true marker that I believe what we teach is impactful in all of our communities, I submit my sock choice for today. If we as leaders of our organization do not plan accordingly, we will likely become extinct.

Rawr.

Reporting live from the front of the class…

@rusnivek

IPEM? Yep!

When I was deployed this summer with FEMA for the disaster response in Nebraska, I totally missed the State of Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) awarding me my official Illinois Professional Emergency Manager certification/designation.

Whohooooooooo – IPEM!

Special thanks to DHS/FEMA, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, and the DuPage County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management for their support in this process.

Reporting live from Illinois…

@MEPIrusnivek 😆

Deep frying a turkey! #DFT2019

Happy Thanksgiving all!

Today, I could die…because I am deep frying a turkey!

Yeah yeah, I know there are some dangers with deep frying a turkey. So let’s give this a whirl. Esp keeping in mind that we will NOT be deep frying a frozen turkey.

Yeah, I saw a few redic YouTube videos.

I don’t want to be that kind of famous.

I decided to break out my turnout gear as some personal protective gear because it’s kinda hard to predict a vat of bubbling oil.

I also bought peanut oil and ONLY peanut oil for the fryer.

Not going to lie, starting the fryer, I got excited.

As I dunked the turkey in, I dropped it in very slowly. If you decide to make a three point dunk, your turkey will likely splash all the super hot peanut oil all over the place, and hot oil isn’t good for your Thanksgiving look.

And a few options if things get too hot thanks to my handy halligan tool.

Yep, one of my favorite tools. (The other favorite tool is the Talon hook). Forcible entry AND turkey prep FTW!

Our turkey turned out awesome so here’s some easy tips that you can use to ensure your family’s safety when deep frying a turkey.

Tip-1: Dunk your turkey in and out slooooooooooly. Allowed less splashing and spillage.

Tip-2: Use 100% real peanut oil for deep frying. If you have a blend, the smoke point of the oil mixture may change. Translated, it could go kaboom at various temperatures. Pure oil allows for a stable and predictable and higher smoke point (than other commonly used oils).

Tip-3: Use proper personal protective equipment (PPE) for turkey safety. No matter the situation, always be prepared – including fire gloves!

Tip-4: I had my favorite halligan and charged hose line (water hose) – just in case things got out of hand.

Tip-5: Heed all safety warnings and watch plenty of YouTube videos because you should be 100% dedicated to this deep frying event. PAY ATTENTION!

Tip-6: Make sure you are a tad late for Thanksgiving turkey dinner time. Grand entrance AND everyone is TOTES hungry.

Tip-7: Thaw and dry your turkey dayzzzzzzzz before you drop it into the boiling hot peanut oil starting at 375.

Tip-8: Have a battle turkey buddy that can help you out with your 🦃 drying and frying tactics. Extra set of eyes and hands with gloves is a huge help. Additionally, huge bonus points if your battle turkey buddy is a board certified residency trained Emergency Medicine Physician and EMS Medical Director.

Follow these tips to ensure your deep fried turkey actions go well.

Successful #DFT2019 – Happy thanksgiving everyone.

We all have much to be thankful for this year.

@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