AMU Emergency Management Public Safety

EDM Friday Briefing: Nasal Sprays Recalled Due to Superpotency

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for August 7, 2020: An estimated 40,000 people were hit with a power outage in Manhattan Friday morning; the USDA issues another public health alert due to a recall for foods potentially contaminated with salmonella-tainted onions; search and rescue teams continue to comb through the rubble in Beirut as the death toll rises from Tuesday’s blast; a wildfire forced the closure of I-70 near Glenwood Springs on Wednesday; continued growth of the summit crater lake in the Kilauea Volcano poses a notable concern; an alleged ransomware attack has caused outages across several systems at Canon U.S.A. Inc.; several nasal sprays have been recalled by Ferring Pharmaceuticals US due to superpotency; and the U.S. Coast Guard has seized an estimated $26 million in cocaine and marijuana from the Caribbean Sea.

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1) A problem with Con-Edison transmission lines led to a power outage, albeit brief, in parts of Manhattan and other New York City suburbs this morning. A total of about 40,000 people lost power just after 5:00 a.m. Friday morning, due to a transmission system malfunction that affected three networks. In addition to the brief power outage, there are at least 50,000 people that remain without power across the city due to Isaias, although electric utility officials noted that all power is forecast to be restored by Sunday.

2) The U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued another public health alert due to recalled products that may contain onions tainted with salmonella. A recall has already been issued for the onions; however, ready-to-eat meats and salad products may contain the potentially tainted onions, which prompted the USDA to issue the public health alert. Marketside, H.E.B., and Taylor Farms brands were included in the alert, with a total of 396 cases possibly linked to the salmonella outbreak.

3) Search and rescue teams scouring the debris from the devastating and deadly blast in Beirut on Tuesday have discovered more bodies, pushing the death toll to 149 people. Dozens remain missing, and nearly 300,000 people were left with homes that were destroyed or uninhabitable due to damage incurred from the blast. At least three hospitals were also damaged in the blast, creating challenges in caring for the thousands who were wounded during the explosion.

4) An accidental, human-caused wildfire scorched at least 35-40 acres near Glenwood Springs in Colorado and shut down I-70 in both directions on Wednesday. Firefighters gained some control of the wildfire by Wednesday evening, which allowed a partial re-opening of the interstate. Dubbed the 111 Fire, several helicopters and two large air tankers were providing aerial support for ground crews in an effort to prevent the fire from spreading further.

5) The Kilauea Volcano — located on the Big Island of Hawaii — remains inactive or dormant. However, changes have been noted to the crater’s summit water lake. Water in the lake has continued to rise over the past year in the summit caldera, growing to at least six acres and 130 feet deep, with an average lake water temperature of about 180 degrees Fahrenheit. The Hawaii Volcano Observatory (HVO) noted that the water poses a particular hazard if an eruption should occur; violent steam blast explosions can, in some instances, occur when magma interacts with near-surface water, making the increasing lake size of notable concern.

6) Canon U.S.A, Inc., has allegedly been hit with a ransomware attack that has caused outages across several systems, including its U.S. website, email and internal systems. According to reports, the Maze ransomware gang has taken credit for the attack, claiming they have stolen at least 10 terabytes of data. The cyber attack mimics a recent attack incurred at Garmin — an attack that was allegedly perpetrated by WastedLocker ransomware and Evil Corp — and the company reportedly paid a multi-million dollar ransom to retrieve its files.

7) Ferring Pharmaceuticals US has issued a voluntary recall for several of its nasal sprays due to their superpotency, which could lead to adverse and possibly fatal reactions. All lots for the company’s DDAVP Nasal Spray 10 mcg/o.1mL, STIMATE Nasal Spray 1.5 mg/mL and Desmopressin Acetate Nasal Spray 10 mcg/0.1mL have been recalled due to higher amounts of Desmopressin than indicated. According to the recall notice, using the product with the higher than specified amounts of Desmopressin “relate to abnormally low sodium levels in the blood, which could eventually lead to seizure, coma, and death.”

8) The U.S. Coast Guard has seized around 1,100 pounds of cocaine and 3,900 pounds of marijuana in the Caribbean Sea“]. The confiscated drugs, worth an estimated $26 million, were offloaded at Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on Wednesday. According to reports, the illegal drugs were seized from suspected drug-smuggling vessels in the Caribbean Sea in an ongoing counternarcotics operation effort to disrupt the flow of illegal drugs.


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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