COOP kinda day with a unicorn, ARC, and the big DHS IG Pro

Tuesday morning and we’re talking about national continuity!

To some, it may not be exciting. BUT Continuity of Operations (COOP) is so critical to any organization esp to the resilience of any community post-disaster. So I was STOKED to see that I was invited by the National Continuity Division to be a part of the new FEMA COOP class.

And I was even more stoked to be sitting next to the class unicorn.

You see, if we as educators look outside our normal circles and lean on others from various agencies, there is much to learn. We had fine representation from numerous agencies from across the country.

For my lunch meeting I opted for a mini SMEM meetup with the American Red Cross Keith Robertory (@krobertory). We have been following for YEARS but have never met in real life.

Amazing these social media relationships because in our discussion, we have lots and lots in common. Friends, disasters, the list goes on and on…

Speaking of disasters, look who I found….

Streeeeeeeeeeeeeter! Yeah, we kinda twinsies today.

OK, I better get back to class. COOP/COG time!

Reporting live from C Street….

@rusnivek

The new 2019 ICS-400 this week!

Good morning peeps – welcome to the new 2019 ICS-400: Advanced ICS!

Proud to be one of the first instructors to roll this course out to our public safety partners that popped in late July. This week’s class? We have a bunch of pros from all backgrounds including Fire, EMS, Police, Healthcare, Public Works, Communications, Health Department, National Guard, Civil Support Teams, State, VA, Intelligence, and Tribal nations. I’m proud to serve all these pros.

Lots of discussion on preparedness efforts esp with some of the projected large disasters from across the country. In fact, discussion on preparedness for Cascadia Rising, New Madrid Fault, and national infrastructure failures were consistently discussed through the day. Related note: Proud to hear of sooo many prepared pros in class this week.

Classically, lots to share as Emergency Management pros continues to coordinate response through training and exercises. Train like you fight right?

Aside from powerpoints, the new ICS-400 has a bunch of in class activities that talk about complex incidents, Unified Command, and area command. Productively discussing issues in class BEFORE a disaster can only help to understand challenges that many agencies face…which could be exacerbated during crisis/emergency.

Glad to have engaged professionals in class this week.

Get your ICS on!

@rusnivek

Internal Comms training for my #EmergencyManagement staff

As we continue our training, we want to be cognizant of all kinds of skills needed to be successful in Emergency Management.

Many of you have been apart of a training or exercise…and have indubitably identified that communications is an action that needs more work. But how can you make that fun? Well, enter one of my Thunderbolt-esque exercises.

Giving the nod to former FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, these types of no-notice trainings engage our staff and forces them to think outside the box.

How outside? In this exercise, we cover

  • Communications
  • Type/Kind resources
  • Staging
  • Incident Command
  • Terminology
  • Nomenclature
  • Scene size-ups
  • Operations
  • Sequential
  • Prioritization
  • Ordering
  • Tactics

And to boot, it’s non-traditional training cause there are no powerpoints. Zero. Zilch. No joy. Gonzo. Nada Ghostrider.

As adult educators, we often forget that people learn things differently. Additionally, we as instructors need to explore outside our comfort zone and teach things in a classic lecture AND non-traditional style.

I am incredibly fortunate to have a staff that loves to train and enhance their skills. Train like you fight!

Want to know more? Want to train better? Come and be a part of my Emergency Management Team. You’ll see.

@rusnivek

2019 National Preparedness Symposium (Day-1)

Early morning start to this Tuesday waiting for clearance from tower.

But before you know it, we are off heading 150 to the 2019 National Preparedness Symposium!

Awwwww yeah, training & exercises and all the FEMA peeps in one place here at the Center for Domestic Preparedness in Alabama!

Started off with a talk from the National Integration Center on the new National Response Framework and Community Lifelines.

Chad walked us through soooooo many programs that Doc talked about previously. Glad to see his work has carried through to inspire a new generation of Emergency Managers.

Continued with spirited discussion from my friends at FEMA EMI on the ongoing efforts for the Emergency Management Professional Program.

Lots of recs on what to take and complete as they could (hint hint) require this for EMPG grant funding employees. Yes that’s right, they can mandate these courses to qualify for grant funds.

So yeah, I’d suggest you get on those courses right away.

Then we hopped deep into a FEMA Region 5 meeting w/ our partners from Ohio, Indiana, Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, and of course Illinois. Overview of exercises “Basically, June is going to be insane.”

Grrrrreat.

Then, it happened. One of the Training & Exercise Managers called me out as “The Legend! We have a picture of you on our wall!”

Me: Blush

Joliet Fire Deputy Fire Chief gave us the biggest shoutout as they said to the entire region “Did you know DuPage trained all the Aurora Police PIOs? Their first day of the job was the day they had that shooting.”

Either way, it was good to report out for DuPage County OHSEM and their significant efforts in training for all provides from across Illinois.

And of course got a chance to see a few familiar faces in the crowd from Rhode Island, Vermont, Texas, California, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Tennessee, New York, Kentucky, Louisiana, and of course Illinois.

Great to catch up to FEMA Region 8 James Taylor who served as my Disaster Recovery Center Manager during Hurricane Irma for the Florida Keys.

Glad to hear he is doing well.

Proud to see soooooooo many old disaster friends too.

Looking forward to hearing from Acting Administrator Pete Gaynor tomorrow morning as he will surely touch on our strategic mission objectives as well as building out a culture of preparedness.

Follow the hashtag used: #NPS19

Reporting live from the CDP….

@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