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AMU Emergency Management Original Public Safety

EDM Friday Briefing: Multi-Vehicle Pileup Kills 6 Near Fort Worth

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for February 12, 2021: The DRC confirms a second person has died from Ebola; six people are dead after a multi-vehicle pileup in Fort Worth on Thursday; the FBI issued a PIN after several cybersecurity issues were identified in the Oldsmar water plant hack; a tsunami was confirmed following the 7.7 earthquake near the Loyalty Islands; Kentucky, Indiana, and Middle Tennessee are cleaning up after the ice storm that struck the region earlier this week; a small-scale nuclear reactor at a government research facility was shut down after it began leaking ionizing radiation; FEMA has awarded nearly $10 million in aid to residents of Mississippi in the wake of Hurricane Zeta; and ICs have support for PTSD through the IC to IC network developed by the NFFF.

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1. A second person has died in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) from what health officials say was Ebola. According to reports, the country, which recently ended its second-worst Ebola outbreak in June 2020, might be facing another outbreak. The World Health Organization (WHO) stated that Ebola is endemic in the Congo due to the infected animal populations. A recently approved antibody cocktail — Inmazeb — has shown that it is effective in reducing mortality rates.

2. Six people are dead following a multi-vehicle crash in Fort Worth, Texas, on Thursday. Authorities stated that 133 vehicles, including cars, trucks, and 18-wheelers, were involved in a pileup on I-35W near downtown Fort Worth that was likely due to ice on the elevated roadway. Reports indicated that at least 35 people were taken via MedStar helicopters to area hospitals.

3. Several cybersecurity issues were identified after the Oldsmar, Florida, water plant hack. A Private Industry Notification (PIN) sent out by the FBI warns consumers about the use of out-of-date Windows 7, poor passwords and TeamViewer, a desktop-sharing software program. The FBI confirmed that TeamViewer was the point of access to the water plant’s computer system and enabled the hacker to gain control and increase chemicals in the water supply to dangerous levels.

4. Tsunami warnings were issued Thursday afternoon in New Zealand after a 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck near the Loyalty Islands in the South Pacific. Tsunami waves were observed and confirmed passing Lord Howe Island, located in the waters between Australia and New Zealand. The tsunami warnings remained in place for at least five hours as multiple, very strong aftershocks also occurred throughout the day, including a major 6.7 quake.

5. Kentucky, Indiana, and Middle Tennessee have begun cleaning up from an ice storm that passed through the area on Wednesday and Thursday. The region received between .1 and .3 inches of ice, which downed power lines and trees and cut power to a total of about 73,000 people in Kentucky. There were over 110 crashes on roadways in Kentucky from Wednesday to Thursday, with at least 17 people who sustained injuries.

6. A small-scale nuclear reactor was shut down last week after it reportedly began leaking ionizing radiation. The incident occurred at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Center for Neutron Research, located in Gaithersburg, Maryland, causing the reactor to be shut down and placed in safety mode. Reportedly, a total of 10 trained employees received elevated doses of radiation; however, all were decontaminated and cleared to return home that evening.

7. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved over $9.5 million in aid to residents of Mississippi in the wake of Hurricane Zeta. The hurricane made landfall just to the west of Mississippi on October 28, 2020, following a record-breaking year of named hurricanes. FEMA noted that the deadline for residents in Mississippi to apply for assistance is March 2, 2021. Individuals can apply online at DisasterAssistance.gov or call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 (TTY800-462-7585).

8. In a report published in 2019 by NIST (National Institute for Standards and Technology), compiled data revealed that emergency responders are three times more likely to suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) than regular adults. A network of incident commanders created by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, dubbed the IC to IC Network, now supports those ICs who have experienced the death of a firefighter in the line of duty. The network connects those ICs who recently experienced a loss with a trained peer who previously sustained a loss. The program is designed to help ICs through several stages, including incident investigations, media information requests, and coping with emotional trauma.

 

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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