2019 National Preparedness Symposium Day-2

An incredible Wednesday as we continue our efforts to collaborate here at the 2019 National Preparedness Symposium.

I chatted with Acting FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor on the importance of continuing to build a culture of preparedness and how it is so critical to our audiences.

Super nice guy.

He then popped the morning plenary session to the entire conference and FEMA employees. Huge discussion on our strategic plan and then a few things in his role as a state director he wished he had when he started at FEMA.

Solid insight from the top at FEMA. Nice guy.

Lots of afternoon sessions including one with the National Disaster Preparedness Consortium (NDPC).

Great discussion amongst participants including

  1. Policy/procedure on admittance into courses
  2. Frank discussion on prerequisites for admittance into class
  3. Ongoing class challenges including rostering.

After the NDPC panel discussion was over, I quickly moved a few rooms over to check out a worthwhile discussion on the I–35 bridge and failing infrastructure. Also had some discussion about structural assessments.

Glad to be having ongoing discussions to maintain our critical access points in many cities across the US.

Then it was time to present my course: Social Media in Emergency Management. Woohoo!!!!

Glad to be sharing the knowledge with providers from across the country.

Engaged audience including a few questions on engagement as well as OSINT gathering and augmented reality. Great to peek the interest and maybe MAYBE be that catalyst for change with our industry.

Shout out to Bronlea the n00b as this was her first trip to the Center for Domestic Preparedness!

Looking forward to tomorrow’s FIT class with FEMA Director John Allen.

Reporting live with all the HQ peeps hanging in FEMA Region 4…

@rusnivek

FEMA Basic PIO Day-1 at Summit County (OH) Public Health

Another fine start to the FEMA Basic Public Information Officer class here in Summit County, Ohio!

Many thanks to the pros at the Summit County Health Department who are hosting this week’s class.

Outstanding hospitality as always!

And of course special thanks to Jena Beckett and the team from Summit County EMA for enhancing their team’s knowledge on the fun of being a Public Information Officer!

We are in the command room this week so you know it’s serious!

As always, we lay the groundwork for successful operations for any PIO.

But we also share real-world experiences that could help in their daily routines to better their visibility. And yes, of course we still do all the media mock interviews.

Public health is a great partner when it comes to outbreaks and opioid intervention tactics so many of our participants opted to test their media skills on an outbreak and response.

Also great to have former Columbus newsies Rachel Feeley on our PIO side (now with Ohio Department of Health) as we continue our mock interviews for everyone.

See, deep down inside, some reporters want to be public safety PIOs. 🤣

For those newly assigned PIOs, we get them on camera as soon as possible!

The whole idea is that we expose new PIOs to this kind of media interview(s) so they aren’t shocked the first time they do it in real life. It’s always a bit more nerve racking when you are n00b PIO and have a bunch of mics and high intensity lights shoved in your face during the start of a major disaster or crisis.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand finally, a big shout out to my team across this great nation as FEMA turns 40 this week!

Here’s a quick video that External Affairs put together.

Proud to work along side all of you through countless disasters.
@rusnivek

FEMA Basic PIO Day-1

Starting off another FEMA G0290: Basic PIO course with our public safety pros from across the state!

I am fortunate to grab a few other PIOs for class today – suit up!

Aside from sharing concepts and theory, we also focused on interview skills…

…you know we did the oncamera interviews.

No bones about it, our mantra is to provide the best real-world training out there.

Lots of discussion on staging as well as single role PIOs and what they can do to get the ball rolling.

We also integrated a few activities and exercises into the mix too.

Don’t worry, we took some time to discuss communications strategies. We shared the 8-step communications model and introduced StratComms!

Planning ahead is always a good thing – esp for PIOs. Preparedness is essential in being a good PIO.

Successful first day with everyone. Looking forward to a solid day-2!

@rusnivek

Morning meetings w/ Chicago Police PIOs at CPD HQ

Morning meetings today with all the Chicago Police Department Communications Team at HQ!

Sharing some tips and news in workshop format about ongoing public safety operations as well as coordinated efforts will help all of us as PIOs. #PIAT

All the coordination enhances our ability to be a more prepared deployable asset to support other agencies of the like.

And for those wondering, the world of PIOs, PAOs, and ESF15 is very small. No matter the size of the disaster or hurricane, every good PIO knows other good PIOs.

Great to meet the team from CPD and looking forward to working with each other to support the mission of public safety for municipalities across this great country.

Special shout out to the CPD team Anthony, Tom, Michael, and Luis.

Me? Yep-proud to continue to serve so many great communities.

@rusnivek

Class comments – Yassssss!

In reviewing my comments from yesterday’s class, I am reminded how much our impact and influence we have as instructors.

This is the reason why we as instructors, educators, and leaders share our experiences.

Without a doubt, there are clear differences between people who read the slides vs instructors who are passionate about improving our field.

It is imperative that we continue to push the envelope as we train and exercise our nation’s public safety professionals. During an emergency or disaster, there is no second chance. The community’s safety is of the utmost importance.

Our dedication to our public safety constituents is neverending and we must strive to be ready for any situation.

This is what we train for…this is what we do.

@rusnivek

DHS Surge Capacity Force for FEMA

Also, remember when I talked about working together so that in a disaster things go well? Here’s the article I worked on w/ CBP as part of the DHS “Surge Capacity Force” ramp up to support FEMA.

Teri Villarreal, usually an import specialist with CBP’s Rosemont, Illinois, office, helps residents of the U.S. Virgin Islands as a member of FEMA’s Surge Capacity Force. FEMA photo by Kevin Sur

Teri Villarreal, usually an import specialist with CBP’s Rosemont, Illinois, office, helps residents of the U.S. Virgin Islands as a member of FEMA’s Surge Capacity Force. FEMA photo by Kevin Sur

See, partnerships are key in the success of any agency’s mission.

Continue to explore working with your partners in public safety!

@rusnivek