Day-2 of the FEMA Basic PIO Course here in KY

Day-2 of the FEMA Basic Public Information Officer Course here.

Glad to finally meet Lexington Fire Capt Jessica Bowman who is also one of the FEMA Master PIOs.

Great day to share some of the tools we use as PIOs. Here’s Sherelle and John talking about the importance and fashionable safety vests are for officials onscene.

Additionally, we discussed media being well visible as their safety is incredibly important. We can’t have our friends in the news business get hurt or become part of the incident.

And trust me, the more people who get injured in an incident, the more paperwork we all have to fill out….so be safe!

As usual, we had a very seasoned media panel from WLEX18 Bill Wilcox and Herald Leader Peter Baniak. Many thanks to both news organizations to spend time out of their busy schedule to spend with PIOs from across the state.

With all Basic PIO classes, we talk about the ability and flexibility for PIOs to do field reporting. Often times, reporters can’t get to a scene because of traffic or lack of staffing. Either way, we as government PIOs can help them out by packaging information they need from the scene. The tools needed to produce this kind of info is fairly easy to get, however the challenge is to put them into play.

By sharing the tactics and tools in class, I am able to improve the skills of any PIO by enhancing their ability to share solid timely and TRUSTED information with any of the targeted audiences.

As PIOs, we are beholden to so many audiences.

  • Public
  • Media
  • Leadership
  • Our internal teams.

At times, our job seems easy however once you dive into it, you can see the complexities of our efforts.

Don’t worry, we reviewed all mock on camera interviews. Tackled key concepts like redirects as well as some tips on how to give more positive non-verbals while being interviewed during crisis.

Super fun day with everyone. Lots of contributions from our partners from Fire, EMS, Police, Emergency Management, Energy, Coroner’s Office, Higher Education, Search and Rescue.

Looking forward to tomorrow’s FEMA JIC/JIS course!

Reporting live from the EOC….

@rusnviek

Spent my day with my hometown CERT

Spent my day volunteering with my hometown Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).

On arrival, I thought I was going to get assigned a different task, but logistics and parking was the identified main concern and safety was an issue.

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After I got briefed on the event, I discussed our situation with all the participants. As CERT, we coordinated our efforts so that our actions/tactics could best match the safety of our personnel as well as others who were there attending the event.

I briefed the Mayor on our ongoing operations and even looked at a few alternate plans.

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Of course we continued to assess our event and think about other safety measures.

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And of course we had a few moments to share a smile.

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Fun fact, our Council President and Safety Chair is also a proud founding member of my awesome CERT Team. Booya!

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Seriously, I love it when elected members of local government give back to their community.

We identified a few issues that will need to be made for the 2016 event (like a formal all-hazards traffic plan with maps, uniformed vests, pre-event plan dissemination/distribution, more participation, etc…). Maybe a formal Incident Action Plan (IAP). Fairly easy stuff that we would be happy to share w/ our constituents.

Wait….What? You have never heard of FEMA’s CERT program before? Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help. CERT members also are encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in their community.

More info can be found on FEMA’s website here.

Want to volunteer within your own community? Want to make a difference in your community? Click here to locate the closest CERT Team to you!

As always, I believe I can make a difference in my community. Fun fact: I’ve been volunteering with my CERT since 2007.

I hope you will do the same.

@rusnivek