AMU Editor's Pick Emergency Management Original Public Safety

EDM Friday Briefing: LEO 2021 Death Toll Already 17 Percent Higher than 2020

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for October 29, 2021: Marten transport confirms it was hit by a cyberattack in early October; Caltrans announced that multiple debris flows closed State Route 70 indefinitely; Grand Isle residents whose homes were more than 50% destroyed by Hurricane Ida must comply with new national building codes; tropical storm-force winds caused widespread power outages in Houston; new data reveals a 17% increase in law enforcement officer deaths to date over 2020; a new assessment will address the lack of interoperability of ECC CAD systems as they pose challenges for NG911 integration, and the Port of Long Beach has launched a program to move containers via rail to an intermodal facility in Utah owned by Union Pacific.

1. Critical infrastructure includes all transportation modes, and as their use of technology increases, so does the threat of cyberattacks. A recent Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing, confirms that Marten Transport – a Wisconsin-based trucking company – was the victim of a cyberattack on October 3. The alleged ransomware attack encrypted their systems and stole more than 100 gigabytes of data, which may have included employee data.

2. Recent storms and heavy rainfall across parts of California have had beneficial impacts, including increasing water reservoir levels and helping to squelch wildfires. The heavy rainfall has also affected burn scars, where soils are weak and have led to mud/debris slides, including multiple slides that have shut down State Route 70 between Jarbo Gap and Greenville Wye (Butte/Plumas County). According to Caltrans, the latest slide dumped 5,000 cubic yards of debris across the roadway, and officials have no date for when the highway will reopen.

3. Residents in Grand Isle are still working to recover from Hurricane Ida, which made landfall in nearby Port Fourchon on August 29. The Category 4 storm completely destroyed 25% of the islands’ properties, damaged nearly 80% of structures, and destroyed critical infrastructure, including water and electrical systems. Homeowners are now faced with new national building codes that must be met if more than 50% of the home has been damaged. With building costs at all-time highs, rebuilding may take longer or just might not be an option for some individuals.

4. As heavy winds moved through Houston, Texas, on Wednesday, tens of thousands of power outages were reported across the area. Winds toppled trees and snapped power lines, leading to at least 113,000 people without power. Tropical storm force wind gusts of up to 61 mph were reported at Houston Hobby Airport , and the National Weather Service (NWS) had a wind advisory in effect until 7 p.m.

5. Two zero-day vulnerabilities on Google Chrome can now be fixed with a new release for Windows, Mac and Linux. Google has not revealed the details of the zero-day attacks or how threat actors used the vulnerabilities in the attacks. The new release fixes a total of seven vulnerabilities, and the new update, 95.0.4638.69, is now available through the Chrome menu.

6. There was a 7% increase in assaults on police officers from 2019 to 2020, with a total of 60,105 officers assaulted in 2020. According to the recent data released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), at least 30% of those officers who were assaulted sustained injuries. The data, collected through the FBI’s Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) Program, also details a total of 93 deaths of law enforcement officers, 46 of which were caused by felonious acts. Total deaths in 2021 already show a 17% increase over the death total of 2020 for a total of 109 deaths to date.

7. Computer-aided dispatch (CAD) systems are used by nearly every Emergency Communication Center (ECC) in the United States, although few CAD system components are interoperable. The lack of interoperability poses barriers to the integration of Next Generation 911 (NG911) and presents challenges when transferring call information via public safety broadband networks to first responders in the field. To address the issue, the National 911 Program will use an outside organization to conduct an assessment on the current CAD systems nationwide and identify challenges and costs to establish a 911 CAD system that is interoperable with data-sharing capabilities nationwide.

8. In an attempt to alleviate congestion, the Port of Long Beach launched a program to move containers to an inland location in Utah. The program includes using Union Pacific trains to transport containers via a direct, regularly scheduled rail service, instead of using trucks to move containers to UP’s Salt Lake City intermodal facility. The new program will assist in reducing pressure on the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, which handle nearly 35% of all containers in the United States. It will also reduce impacts on port terminal storage, gates, chassis, and the local drayage community on the coast. Rail transportation is also more fuel-efficient and reduces the number of trucks on the road, as 100 intermodal rail cars is equivalent to 300 trucks.

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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