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EDM Friday Briefing: Attack on California Air Force Base Investigated as Terrorist Attack

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for March 23, 2018: An attack on a California Air Force Base is being investigated as terrorism, the City of Atlanta has experienced a cyberattack that may have compromised personal data, the hostage situation in France that has left at least two dead has been called a terrorist attack, Maryland school shooting victim, Jaelynn Willey, reportedly was taken off life support Thursday, a small dam leak in California prompts an evacuation, two manhole explosions in Lower Manhattan force building evacuations, the Great Pacific Garbage Pile is growing exponentially and is a major threat to marine life, and a toxic algae bloom causes Ohio to declare the western end of Lake Erie an impaired waterway.

1. A vehicle loaded with propane tanks [link url=”” title=”rammed through the main gates at the Travis Air Force Base in California”] late Wednesday, and exploded in flames. According to reports, no shots were fired, however, law enforcement stated that the driver deliberately ignited the fire, causing his death inside the vehicle. The vehicle reportedly ran off the road into a ditch, and because the driver ignited himself, [link url=”” title=”officials are investigating the incident as an act of terrorism”].

2. The City of Atlanta was hit with [link url=”” title=”a cyberattack early Thursday morning which affected several internal computers”], including online bill paying, and some law enforcement data. Officials discovered a ransom note demanding a bitcoin payment to gain the key required to unlock internal computers. It is unclear if [link url=”″ title=”personal information has been compromised”], however, Atlanta is receiving assistance from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Microsoft and Cisco.

3. At least two people are dead, one person is seriously wounded, and three others are injured in a [link url=”” title=”developing hostage situation at a Super U grocery store in Trèbes, France”]. French officials believe the incident to be a terrorist attack after the suspect, who prior to taking up to eight hostages at the grocery store, yelled “Allahu Akbar, I’ll kill you all” when he entered the store. The incident began when the same individual attempted to run down police officers during their morning run near Carcassone, [link url=”” title=”where he opened fire and shot one officer in the shoulder”], and then made his way to the grocery store.

4. The parents of Jaelynn Willey, one of the Great Falls High School shooting victims in Maryland, stated that their [link url=”″ title=”daughter is brain dead and reportedly was being removed from life support”] on Thursday night. Jaelynn became a victim when the shooter, Austin Rollins, 17, opened fire on Tuesday morning inside the school, shooting her in the head and one other male student in the knee. A resource officer, and member of the SWAT team for St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy First Class Blaine Gaskill, [link url=”” title=”is credited with saving the lives of additional students”] by confronting the suspect.

5. As rains from a strong system pelted California, [link url=”” title=”a small dam leak forced the evacuation of about three dozen people”] as water began leaking through the Moccasin Dam on Thursday, when flow rates through the dams spillways could not keep up with rainfall amounts. Some roads were also closed and officials at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, owners of the dam, [link url=”” title=”reported damage around the spillway and water leaking through the dam”] which had caused water and debris to rush into the small Moccasin Reservoir. The reservoir filled nearly to capacity, but officials stated that by late Thursday, water was beginning to recede, which averted a dam failure, and the evacuation orders were lifted.

6. Late Thursday afternoon, [link url=”” title=”two manhole explosions in Lower Manhattan”], near the World Trade Center, were sparked by a transformer vault that exploded and caught fire. One person was injured and several buildings had to be evacuated due to high levels of carbon monoxide. The incident occurred outside 53 Nassau Street and near Liberty street, and [link url=”” title=”several streets were closed”] until Con Ed could make the necessary repairs.

7. According to new information released, [link url=”” title=”the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP) has grown exponentially”] since scientists originally expressed their concern about the growing garbage patch in October of 2016. Since then, the patch has nearly doubled in size, covering 600,000 square miles-an area more than twice the size of Texas-and contains at least 79,000 tons of plastic garbage. The GPGP consists mainly of large items, [link url=”” title=”such as fishing nets, buoys, bottles, ropes, and plastic bags”], all of which threaten marine life and risk the carrying of invasive species across oceanic basins.

8. The entire western end of Lake Erie has been declared as [link url=”” title=”an impaired waterway due to toxic algae that has diminished drinking water quality”] and closed beaches in recent years. The last decade has seen the largest ever algae bloom in the western portion of this shallow Great Lake, which is attributed to fertilizer runoff from area farms. A toxic algae bloom in 2014 prevented Toledo residents from drinking tap water for two days, and[link url=”” title=” blooms can also result in fish kills and the sickening of swimmers”].


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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