AMU Emergency Management Original Public Safety

EDM Friday Briefing: Register for the Great Earthquake ShakeOut Drill

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for September 3, 2021: At least 45 people died after flash flooding inundated areas of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania; the NHC is forecasting Larry to become a major hurricane; the residents of Grand Isle are able to briefly return to their homes to assess damage after Hurricane Ida; Asian dry-bulk carriers are now accepting cargo containers in an effort to assist the supply chain; Cleco completed its initial damage assessments in Louisiana and is working to restore power as quickly as possible; the NHC continues to monitor two disturbances in the Atlantic Basin; September is National Preparedness Month and FEMA is encouraging participation in the Great Earthquake ShakeOut Drill; PPEs are critical for first responders, and September 7-10 is deemed Respiratory Protection Week by the NPPTL.

1. For the first time in history, the National Weather Service (NWS) issued a flash flood emergency for New York City, Brooklyn and Queens as remnants of Hurricane Ida moved through the region. At least 45 people died as a result of the storm and flooding, including one person who got trapped by water in her basement apartment. Subway service was suspended in most areas of the city after floodwaters inundated subway stations and tracks. The heavy rainfall across the region also led to widespread flooding that affected Pennsylvania and New Jersey, where floodwaters forced Newark International Airport to cease operations and suspend all flights.

2. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is forecasting Larry to become a major hurricane possibly as early as Friday evening. NHC models are largely in agreement with the current track, and the hurricane should track northwestward early next week,. Current movement is at 20 mph, with a minimum central pressure of 982 millibars or 29 inches of mercury.

3. Residents are permitted to return to Grand Isle beginning today in order to assess damage and prevent any further damage to their properties. Proof of residency must be shown and officials are cautioning everyone to bring food, water, and ice as there are absolutely no services on the island and no available electricity, water, or gas. A slowdown of debris removal over Friday and Saturday will allow movement through the streets enough to permit residents to assess damage, collect personal belongings, and secure property.

4. Asian dry-bulk carriers are now accepting cargo containers on their decks to assist in supply chain movements. Singapore-based Swire Bulk, which owns and operates a fleet of 150 vessels, was the first among bulk carriers to begin accepting the containers. Currently, most bulk carriers are only able to accept green sea loads instead of cargo weight without the modification and strengthening of cargo-securing arrangements.

5. Cleco is working to restore power as quickly as possible to its customers affected by Hurricane Ida in Louisiana; however, the task is daunting. The company completed its initial damage assessment on Thursday night and found thousands of issues with distribution equipment. The utility company identified a total of 5,137 spans of downed conductors, 3,945 trees on power lines, 1,433 broken cross arms, 411 downed transformers and 472 downed poles. Power has already been restored to at least 30,000 customers, and information about ongoing power restoration efforts are available on the company’s website.

6. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) continues to monitor two other disturbances in the Atlantic Basin for development. One located off the coast of Africa shows little chance of development as it moves westward into unfavorable conditions. Another disturbance over the Gulf of Honduras and portions of Central America is producing disorganized showers and thunderstorm activity with a five-day chance of development at around 30%.

7. September is National Preparedness Month, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is focusing on enhancing public awareness of potential natural disasters. Part of the awareness campaign includes notification that the 2021 Great Earthquake ShakeOut Drill is set for October 21. After registering for the drill, participants gain access to materials, drill manuals, and resources applicable to the participants’ region and audience.

8. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is critical for first responders, including respiratory protection. Effective respiratory devices are critical to the user’s protection and the ability to perform tasks. To address the need for effective respiratory protection, the National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL) is hosting its third annual Respiratory Protection Week from September 7-10. To facilitate information-sharing efforts, two webinars will be held during that week that address the roles of those involved in, along with the future of, respiratory protection. Registration is required.

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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