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

Monday morning with FEMA HQ staff

Solid Monday morning here at FEMA HQ.

Catching up to a few friends in External Affairs because preparedness doesn’t stop! I knew Jana starting back in the day as we were (and still are) huge advocates for the Ready.Gov Program.

For more details behind the FEMA Ready.Gov program, check out www.ready.gov

And since we are talking about External Affairs, I got a chance to take a deep dive with FEMA External Affairs Director Jessica Nalepa.

Lots of discussion on the complexities of External Affairs and how our actions are so critical in a disaster and of course the public perception. Also lots of discussion on dedication to career and service.

Looking forward to having more discussion with her on how to improve our response and elevate External Affairs for FEMA and the nation.

Suit up because I’m reporting live from Washington DC….

@rusnivek

Day-2 of the new 2019 ICS-400 course!

Day-2 of the new 2019 ICS-400 course! This morning, we start out talking about the deadly 2005 Hurricane Katrina/Rita response with the US Coast Guard.

Facilitated discussion allows our participants to openly discuss perceived issues. Lots of response actions from all of our participants that can contribute to a successful response. Glad we had fruitful discussion prior to the actual disaster.

Our class also acknowledged the national Emergency Alert System Test today for TV and radio.

Everyone in class knew about it…aka prepared leadership and pros. Love it!

Midmorning and afternoon class-time was spent on the capstone activity with heavy discussion on the use of area command and how we allocate resources for multiple jurisdictions.

And you are right if you said that the rotor wing options are high on the list of valuable recourses.

Channeling my best FEMA EMI Bob Ridgeway, “…and don’t worry sports fans” moment, we included the infamous State of Columbia!

This fictions town is always a disaster.

Great to see so many partners discuss overarching goals including challenges with the big three public safety providers. Like pros, they included a large bite into health intelligence, DoD assets, and of course addressing various audiences like the tribal nations. Solid!

Proud to serve my fellow public safety pros from all professions this week in the ICS-400 course.

@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’s 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

Social Media Engagement Strategies for the AZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ peeps!

Thirsty Thursdays are here and we’re popping another Social Media Engagement Strategies class here at Pima County EMA (Arizona).

And of course we gotta keep it real to the course creator – our good friend Cheryl Bledsoe!

For those that know the origins of this picture, know how important it is for us to keep it consistent.

As instructors, we often love to incorporate pop culture references into class. This class was no different.

Oh yeah! Luckily it isn’t Wednesday.

So great to see collaboration with the NPS Wildfire folks. Also great to see a fellow Type-1 PIOs in the audience too.

Great minds think alike as we continue to prepare and engage various audiences…including during non-fire season.

Not only are we prepping tweets and Facebook posts, we are also diving deep into strategy.

Plans are soooooo important esp when we focus in on social media. Yes, many PIOs are responsive, but we also need to be strategic about our operations. When participants walk away from this class, they have in hand, a starting point for social media strategy that includes their partner agencies.

Since we can’t just run and gun, we must not cross the streams.

Ray, just don’t look at the trap.

Outstanding discussion amongst all participants as we share success stories and challenges we face daily on social media.

More importantly, it’s good to see genuine smiles in class. Lotsa smiles.

Facilitating discussion helps enhance relationships with all providers in disaster response and recovery. Additionally, people can address gaps and maybe…MAYBE find an agency that can assist or mutual aid in to fill that shortfall.

Proud to bring this engaging class to our partners in Arizona!

@rusnivek