Another FEMA PIO Awareness course in Lake County Illinois

Another fine start to the FEMA PIO Awareness course here at Mundelein Fire Station 1!

Special thanks to DC Brents and the whole crew!

Lots to talk about as we intro the magic of public information to a new class. Of course we had a few words of wisdom from PIO John Nebl.

Great perspective and stories from Schaumburg Police.

If you were wondering, we are in the Emergency Operations Center (EOC)…so that’s a good thing.

Making your peeps train in the location that they would likely be activated to…is a solid practice.

With a diverse class, we are able to cover lots of topics and various situations. The all-hazards nature of this FEMA class allows us to better prepare our PIOs for any emergency.

Additionally, I love to share my experiences from large events and disasters with fellow colleagues from across the State of Illinois.

Training together better prepares us to coordinate and work together before, during, and after an emergency. That’s right, come on in and form Voltron.

Special thanks to all the staff from Mundelein Fire for the warm hospitality to our staff from the DuPage County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

Train like you fight!

@rusnivek

Downburst with Thunderstorm at the EOC

Sometimes Mother Nature just wants to remind you of her power. Work this morning was a bit different as we saw the true power of how powerful a simple downburst can be.

As you can see, these gigantic trees were no match for the winds in excess of 50mph.

Like a pair of sticks, this thicc tree was split at the base, the thickest strongest point.

Dayum.

To give you some perspective of the size, take a look at this picture. See that Chief wearing the white shirt behind the tree? Yeah, that’s a big tree.

Keep in mind, there are two gigantic trees that instantly fell within seconds.

As you can see, our top notch ESF-03: Public Works pros are already at it with their chainsaw gang clearing priority paths for critical access.

For more detailed information on this downburst with severe thunderstorms, here’s the direct link to NWS-Chicago’s report: https://www.weather.gov/lot/2019Jul02_Severe

Stay safe and heed all the warnings of local public safety agencies.

@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

Day-2 of the FEMA Basic Public Information Officer course here at Defiance County EMA

Day-2 of the FEMA OEMA Basic Public Information Officer course here at Defiance County EMA.

As we start to expand the roles of the PIO, we gotta talk about social media and the impact it has on our every day tasks representing our brand…aka our agency.

Like all info on social media, there’s a ton of things to cover and we won’t be able to talk about ALL platforms. But we can talk about the primary ones that make a difference for any public safety agency.

Also a good time to share one thoughts with you too:

“I don’t care how many followers you have, I care about how you engage all of the followers you do have.” – @rusnivek

Much like Shania Twain, the volume of followers don’t impress me much. What makes a really good social media-er, is how that agency engages with their followers they do have.

I often get asked about in class mock interviews. We still do them as they are incredibly important for participants in a safe learning environment.

But ask any of my participants. They will tell you that it’s pretty real.

Additionally, how I facilitate that part of class nurtures and allows for self-reflection amongst all participants. This ain’t my first rodeo. My peeps are good as we prep them for a really bad day.

Mock press conferences allow our participants to put together a few skills they learned just yesterday.

Just like real press conferences, mock reporters are able to ask questions and test some techniques on running a successful press conference.

The best part?

Participants worked it like pros and did an excellent job in running the pressers! NOOICE!!!!!

Great teamwork and collaboration with everyone here. Strong support network, solid coordination, and nice weather – always a winner!

Proud of the work from everyone in class today.

I’m totes looking forward to tomorrow’s course – FEMA JIC/JIS Course

@rusnivek

FEMA Basic PIO Course here at Defiance County EMA

It’s just another Manic Monday as we start another FEMA OEMA Basic PIO Course here at Defiance County Emergency Management Agency (Ohio). Cue the Guns n Roses intro music!

Not going to lie, all signs point to a large contingent from our law enforcement community here today.

Lots of new PIOs in the audience today as we try to share the good word from so many agencies. Almost every ESF is represented!

All-hazards coolio on Monday!

As an added instructor bonus, we get a chance to see what campaigns that Ohio EMA has worked for previous outreach activities in Ohio. Hi Nancy!!!!!

My lunch time views include a few red fire trucks.

Ahhhhh, I feel better now.

And in classic fashion, we are most definitely doing on-camera interviews.

While seemingly insignificant, this is the part of the class that participants find is the most valuable for their ongoing career.

Me? I’d rather you have that experience and training and never use it vs never having that training and then being thrown to the wolves in a crisis or emergency.

Train like you fight right?

Reporting live from the EOC as I ask those challenging media-esque questions…

@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

Crisis Comms meetings at ARC Chicago

Afternoon meetings with the Communications team with the Red Cross of Chicago!

Case studies? Social media? Response training? Media training? Yeppers, all of that stuff for for the L-team to boots-on-the-ground staff.

Looking forward to some upcoming Crisis Comms training with all their staff.

@rusnivek