AMU Emergency Management Original Public Safety

EDM Briefing: Tennessee Firefighters Walk in Support of 303 Project

Emergency and disaster management briefing highlights for February 28, 2022: Two firefighters walked nearly 170 miles in Tennessee in support of the 303 Project; firefighters in Colorado fight fires without adequate PPEs; PG&E filed its 2022 fire mitigation plan; Oregon faces high wind warnings from an atmospheric river; Russian and Ukrainian delegates met Monday for the first time; three upcoming webinars train firefighters on how to use the NFIRS; FEMA is hosting several webinars to assist organizations in the NEP application process; and new evidence-based guidance for pre-hospital pain is now available for EMS providers.

1. Two firefighters from Cleveland, Tennessee, walked nearly 170 miles to Nashville in support of the 303 Project. The walk, completed by firefighters Nate Kuzdzal and Drew Rader, was meant to raise awareness of first responder post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), in memory of 22-year veteran firefighter Captain Dustin Samples, who was diagnosed with PTSD and committed suicide last December. The goal of the 303 Project is to break the silence surrounding mental health. Both the 303 Project and the walk have the goal of supporting a bill that would make PTSD a covered medical expense for first responders.

2. Firefighters in Colorado reportedly do not have adequate personal protective equipment (PPE). A new report highlights inadequacies in PPEs, especially among volunteer firefighters across the state. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) also conducted a needs assessment, noting that that an average of 20% of firefighters did not have adequate PPEs while fighting wildland-urban interface fires.

3. Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) filed its 2022 Wildfire Mitigation Plan on Friday. The new plan reveals the company’s plans to bury at least 175 miles of power lines, with another 3,600 miles of lines buried by 2026. The new plan reduces the need for vegetation management, saving future costs related to that work. Long-term plans call for additional measures, including system hardening, inspections and grid design.

4. An atmospheric river is taking aim at the Pacific Northwest. There is a high wind warning for the Oregon coast until 4 p.m. Monday. Heavy rainfall may lead to flooding in low-lying areas, including the Willamette Valley and along coastal areas. Excessive snowfall in higher elevations is also likely to increase the risk of avalanches.

5. Economic sanctions and a stiff resistance from Ukraine has slowed the advancement of Russian troops. Delegates from Russia and the Ukraine met for talks Monday, although a diplomatic breakthrough is alleged to be unlikely. European nations are on high alert after Russian president Vladimir Putin placed the nation’s nuclear forces on high alert, reportedly after the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) powers made what he said were aggressive statements.

6. The National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) is a critical tool for fire departments across the nation. Although it is a voluntary reporting data collection tool, the database houses information that covers every aspect of incidents. Use of the database requires some training, which is being offered from March 14-18. The training includes how to use the database, the benefits of using NFIRS and how to run reports.

7. The National Exercise Program (NEP) offers no-cost assistance for exercise design, development, conduct and evaluation of exercises to validate preparedness processes across all mission areas. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is hosting several webinars to help preparedness partners access exercise support. The webinars will cover the exercise support process, and upcoming webinar dates include March 1, March 3, and March 8.

8. New evidence-based guidelines for pre-hospital pain was released last month. The guidance is meant to provide consistent, adequate pain treatment protocols for EMS providers. The publication, released by the National Association of State EMS Officials (NASEMSO), was published in the journal Prehospital Emergency Care. In an effort to support the implementation of these evidence-based protocols, related guidance and training is available from a variety of publications by visiting the NASEMSO website.

Kimberly Arsenault serves as an intern at the Cleveland/Bradley County Emergency Management Agency where she works on plan revisions and special projects. Previously, Kimberly spent 15 years in commercial and business aviation. Her positions included station manager at the former Midwest Express Airlines, as well as corporate flight attendant, inflight manager, and charter flight coordinator. Kimberly currently holds a master's degree in emergency and disaster management from American Public University.

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