FEMA Basic Academy graduation – first one in Illinois

The time has come to welcome all of our graduates of the FEMA Basic Academy here at DuPage County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management!

“This is the first FEMA Basic Academy offered here in Illinois and we are proud to bring this Emergency Management foundation education here to DuPage County.” said Academy Instructor Kevin Sur. “The skills learned during this intensive course from November through March builds the framework for all Emergency Managers combining knowledge of all fundamental systems, concepts, and practices of leading actions for future leaders.”

The course started in November 2019 where participants were exposed to all mission areas including a myriad of case studies that highlighted the importance of collaboration and coordination in the response and recovery phase of any disaster or emergency.

In January 2020, participants took a deep dive into the science of disasters as well as planning to better help and understand the threats and dangers to each of their own communities.

To understand our hazards, we must understand legit science so that we can use the right resources to solve the problem.

The last week in March 2020, the class focused on the hot button topic of Homeland Security Exercise Evaluation Program and the Public Information and Warning course. Special thanks to new FEMA MEPP DuPage County OHSEM Sup Corey Mulryan for teaching with me on this one.

Participants debated the use of mass notification systems, social media in targeting specific audiences, and the value of the Public Information Officer (PIO) who’s role is so vital to the success of the agency.

Proud to be a part of the Instructional delivery team to get this first class here at DuPage County OHSEM.

Who’s who in the zoo? Well, we had participants from 6 different states, 3 different FEMA Regions with a diverse crowd from local, county, state, and Federal partners.

OUTSTANDING!!!!!

As we rolled into the graduation, I was able to make some opening remarks and thanking our most esteemed guests in the room.

Glad to hear from the new FEMA Region V Deputy Regional Administrator Kevin Sligh.

Deputy RA Sligh is a graduate of the program and is proud to see this foundational course being used as the marker of success for local Emergency Managers.

We also got a chance to hear from FEMA Region 5 Training & Exercise Manager Jessica Mitchell on the value of training. She is a proud resident of DuPage County.

And finally, to close things out, ladies and gents….put your hands together for Former IEMA Director and former Director of DuPage OHSEM….FEMA Region V Regional Administrator James Joseph!!!!

@rusnivek = #HypeMan

Great to hear his words of wisdom as his start here at DuPage and move on up has been solid.

Oh yeah…..social media. Yeah, I haven’t been posting a ton of stuff. Been concentrating on instruction and delivering the best class stuff.

Buttttttttttttttttttttttttt since I am one of the few FEMA Master PIOs, I figured it was only appropriate that I take a class selfie right?

#engagement #selfie

But seriously, I’m super proud of all the work that everyone contributed in class.

Lots of love for all of them.

More importantly, I know who I can count on during an activation/disaster.

Rusnivek’s 2020 Objective-1: Instructor certified FEMA Basic Academy – completed.

From the bottom of my heart, mahalos to my colleagues for the support throughout the academy.

Reporting live with a huge smile on my face…..

@rusnivek

FEMA + Region V + ICS-300 = Meeee!

Good morning FEMA Region V!

Time to get my ICS-300 on because I am teaching ICS-300 with one of my Plans Section Chiefs Mark Ballard!

This one is an all Federal class here as we serve our DHS partners and various other organizations in learning about the Incident Command.

You know what day it is. On Wednesdays, we wear pink.

Reporting live from the FEMA RV RRCC…

@rusnivek

Day-2 of the new FEMA Region V COOP Course

Starting off day–2 of the new FEMA COOP class.

Solid discussion lead by Northwestern Medicine’s Continuity Manager Sam with our all-hazards pros on alternate locations including cold, warm, and hot EOCs.

Not only locations, but also triggers on when to move emergency operations centers. These kinds of discussions also spark debate on levels of activation as well as essential personnel. We openly discuss triggers and standards that help make it easy for COOP Managers and leadership to roll out their continuity plan.

As we identify specific incidents and actions needed, we can also assess viability of personnel and staff….ESSENTIAL staff to these secure national COOP locations like

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Additionally, we focus in on the importance of not only writing a plan, but also exercising a plan. Good dialog w/ Joe on the city of Aurora’s exercise plans.

While not as sexy as response or even preparedness, these kinds of continuity exercises test recovery. Can’t begin to tell you how important that is to your constituents esp when things are going to 💩. Catastrophic planning is only as good as your last exercise – trust me, when faced with crisis, people will not always do the most common sense thing.

Why is our agency leaning in on the COOP stuff? Well, if all goes according to my plan, we should have at five (5) Master Continuity Practitioners on our staff. Awwwww yeah!

As we close up, Sam leads the post test wrap up to evaluate that level II retention that FEMA EMI loves.

In the end, when you see the participants smiling and hearing their responses in how they are going to directly implement these new rollouts and changes to the plans….is so gratifying.

I am proud of the work we do in Emergency Management. As an instructor I expect a lot out of you. And your students most definitely do too.

As an instructor, your influence to your participants can generate enthusiasm beyond expectation. Dedication is critical to the success of your mission. I am thankful for all the smiles in our FEMA Region 5 COOP class on this #AlohaFriday.

@rusnivek

Brand new FEMA Region V COOP class Day-1

Kicking off the new FEMA Region 5 Continuity of Operations class here at the DuPage County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

Proud to have Northwestern Medicine’s Continuity Manager Sam Boyle and DuPage County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Operations Supervisor Joe Joseph with us to share some of the changes with FCD-1, FCD-2, CC-1, HSPD5, PPD-8, NSPD-51, HSPD-20, and of course the NIMS update.

Mid-day discussion with Joe on the Continuity planning process with the new FEMA course materials for COOP focused around essential functions.

Look at those smiles!

All made to enhance the skills of our public safety partners.

Shout out to all the leadership and participants who took the time away from their desks to enhance their program’s ability to function beyond catastrophic incidents.

Also, for those that were paying attention on the day? Is it really the perfect date?

Hmmmm…

Boom.

COOP? Operations? Social Media? Public Information? Pop culture? Everything is a calculated because even in a FEMA class, we don’t miss a beat!

Welcome to my program. This is how we do things at our house.

@rusnivek

Live spot with News13 in Cudjoe Key for #Hurricane #Irma Response & Recover #Miami #Tallahassee #Orlando #Tampa

Got a chance to do a live spot with News13 out of Orlando in Cudjoe Key, Florida.

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Inside, it’s a whole different view​.

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As you know, Cat-4 Hurricane Irma made eye wall landfall here with incredible high winds and storm surge leaving heavy devastation throughout this neighborhood.


Lots to see and do esp w/ their field producing and staff onsite. I counted at least 7 cameras for their 6p live shot.

They even had a jib camera.


People will stare including our staff and state director.


Lots of steadycam shots leading into the first interview with former State of Florida Emergency Management Director Bryan Koon.


Next live segment was with our Division Supervisor (DIV/SUP) who happens to be an Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO) member.


Solid questions on response efforts and good inquiries for ongoing operations for recovery phase.


Great interactions and questions from the anchors.


Lots to discuss in response as well as recovery.


As you know, the recovery phase is the hardest part of a disaster.


Glad to be partnering with news agencies who get the story right. The Anchors and producer was super nice…so of course I had to take a selfie w/ them. Cheeeeeeeeeeeeeze!


Making sure we represent FEMA – particularly Branch V Division Alpha.

Reporting live on News13 from Cudjoe Key, Florida…
@rusnivek

Friday Community Meeting in Monroe County

Much interest in today’s Community Meeting on updates for the Recovery phase here in Monroe County. HUGE turnout tonight.


Keeping things together as we at FEMA continue to support our local partners like the Monroe County Emergency Management Director Marty.

Behind the scenes: Some of my Branch V Division A-team that makes the FEMA magic happen.


Media on site. Lots of questions from everyone. And yes, as the FEMA PIO, I had to step in a few times.


Reporting live from the front of the room…

@rusnivek