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EDM Friday Briefing: Cybersecurity Awareness Month Free Webinars

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for October 15, 2021: The Dixie Fire is nearly contained as operations move to mop up and conduct post-fire repairs; the CPC says La Niña conditions are likely over the next few months and may lead to higher snowfall amounts in the Great Lakes region; Teligent Pharma has issued another recall for its Lidocaine due to super potency; Crash Responders Safety Week is November 8-14 and focuses on responder and motorist safety through education; Butterball recalls over 14,000 pounds of ground turkey for alleged foreign matter contamination; DOT PHMSA awards over $98 million in grants to improve pipeline and hazardous material safety; river flooding in Alaska threatens the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline and prompts introduction of new flood control methods; and two free webinars from NIST and CISA are available that address public service emergency communications cybersecurity safety and protection as part of October’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

1. The Dixie Fire, burning in the Lassen National Forest in California, is now 94% contained. The last CalFire resources departed from the wildfire, which burned through four counties, including Lassen, Butte, Plumas, Tehama, and Shasta. The blaze has scorched 963,309 acres since it began on July 13. The wildfire merged with the Fly Fire and became so massive that it was managed in two different zones, the East Zone and West Zone. The Dixie Fire is the second largest wildfire in California history, and it destroyed a total of 1,329 structures and damaged another 95.

2. The Climate Prediction Center (CPC) now reports that La Niña conditions are likely to begin over the next several months. La Niña conditions cause cooler waters to upwell in the Pacific Ocean, along the West Coast of the United States, which pushes the Jet Stream farther south in the northeastern part of the U.S. Increased snowfall amounts become more likely to occur in the Great Lakes region with a winter that is allegedly colder and wetter.

3. Teligent Pharma has issued another recall for its 50-milliliter Lidocaine HCl Topical Solution 4% for super potency. The drug is used to prevent pain in the mouth, nose, and part of the digestive tract, and according to an announcement by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a total of five lots of the drug were recalled. This is the second time in less than two months that the company has issued a recall for issues with super potency in its lidocaine.

4. Crash Responder Safety Week (CRSW) is November 8-14, 2021, and the Emergency Responder Safety Institute (ERSI) and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) are hosting a Facebook Live discussion webinar on October 20 to discuss how to participate. According to the ERSI, there have already been 50 fatalities of crash responders to date in 2021. The goal of the CRSW is education that ensures the safety of every accident/incident responder on busy roadways to keep motorists safe, reduce secondary crashes and save lives.

5. Butterball, LLC is recalling approximately 14,107 pounds of its ground turkey products due to potential foreign matter contamination. The products may contain blue plastic. It was sold under the brands of two and a half pound trays of farm to family Butterball ground turkey and three-pound trays of Kroger Ground Turkey, with a production date of September 28. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), the products were shipped to retail locations nationwide, and consumers can contact the Butterball Consumer Hotline at (800) 288-8372 with any questions.

6. The Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (DOT PHMSA) has awarded over $98 million in grants to enhance pipeline and hazardous materials safety at the community level. The grant monies are going to states, territories and tribes. They encompass a total of 11 different safety programs, including inspection, enforcement and research efforts to enhance pipeline safety. Additional grant monies will support emergency responder training for hazardous materials transportation incidents.

7. An unusually harsh rainfall in the Brooks Range of Alaska caused the Sagavanirktok River (Sag River) to swell in late summer 2019. The swollen river threatened the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline (TAPS), which carries an average of 20 million gallons of crude oil from the Prudhoe Bay oil fields, by crumbling 100 feet of land along the Sag River’s west bank. The massive erosion of earth stopped about 30 feet from a buried segment of the pipeline, prompting efforts to secure river banks and develop other flood control programs. Those effort will include fortifying pipelines and the building of massive flood control walls.

8. October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and according to a recent survey conducted by SAFECOM, cybersecurity incident response plans, policies, and capabilities are only in place for about 20% of public safety organizations. Without these elements, public safety organizations place themselves at an increased risk of cybersecurity incidents or attacks. Upcoming webinars by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) on October 21 and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) on October 26 address emergency communication systems, the risks involved with interoperability as it applies to new technology, and ransomware threats. The webinars are free, but the webinar hosted by NIST on October 21 requires advance registration.

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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