AMU Emergency Management Original Public Safety

EDM Friday Briefing: September Is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Emergency and disaster management briefing for September 24, 2021: Suicide Prevention Awareness Month is critical to help save the lives of first responders; comments on a new project addressing telehealth technology for EMS are being welcomed by NIST; Shasta County issued evacuation orders Thursday for the rapidly spreading Fawn Fire; LAX will launch an early earthquake warning system in 2022; Hurricane Sam becomes the 18th named storm of the season; San Francisco’s Bay Area is under an Air Alert Advisory; explosions shake La Palma Island as a new vent opens in the active cone of the La Cumbre Vieja volcano; and the Boppy Company has announced a recall of its newborn lounger pillow, due to infant deaths.

1. September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and efforts to build awareness about this ongoing issue among first responders remains a high priority. In an effort to reduce the number of deaths among law enforcement officers and other first responders, a new report shows that the highest rate of success was among organizations that create and encourage support networks, including peer-to-peer programs. Reducing the stigma and fear associated with asking for help has also helped lower the number of suicides among first responders.

2. Recent events have introduced changes to the medical field, including online appointments and medical assistance, known as telehealth technology. Ensuring safe, secure connections and communication during these online appointments between medical providers or EMS (emergency medical services) and patients is the focus of a new draft project by the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The project, “Mitigating Cybersecurity Risk in Telehealth Smart Home Integration,” is encouraging EMS and other public agencies to submit comments online before October 4, 2021.

3. Mandatory evacuations were ordered in Shasta County after a new fire broke out on Wednesday afternoon. The Shasta County Sheriff’s Office issued the orders on Thursday after the Fawn Fire, burning north of the city of Redding, spread rapidly. To help stop the rapid spread, firefighters launched a heavy aerial attack that included the use of 12 air tankers, although the threats to high-voltage lines remain amid extreme fire behavior.

4. Los Angeles International Airport announced it will launch an earthquake early warning system in 2022. The new system will first be tested at one of the airport’s terminals through the monitoring of the U.S. Geological Survey’s ShakeAlert. The system is designed to detect the first tremors of an earthquake, allegedly providing at least a few extra seconds of warning prior to more violent shaking. The pilot project will also determine the feasibility of an automatic shutdown of the airport’s fuel hydrant system to prevent fuel flow during an earthquake.

5. Hurricane Sam became the eighteenth named storm of the 2021 season as it churns in the Atlantic Ocean. The system has rapidly intensified, and as of the latest forecast by the National Hurricane Center (NHC), it has a small, well-developed inner core with pronounced curved bands wrapping almost all the way around the center. According to the NHC, environmental conditions remain favorable for continued rapid intensification of the system for at least the next 24 hours.

6. An Air Quality Advisory is in effect for California’s Bay Area for Friday and Saturday. Wildfire smoke will drift into the area, causing smoky and hazy skies. The smoke could potentially cause issues for susceptible residents, including children, the elderly and people with respiratory problems. Officials noted that anyone sensitive to the decreased air quality should remain indoors with ventilation systems set to re-circulate air.

7. The eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano on La Palma in the Canary Islands continues. Recent eruptions were primarily ash, reaching heights of at least 13,120 feet, but on Friday, stronger eruptions occurred from a new vent in an active cone that opened. The eruption sent shock waves that were felt nearly two miles away. As the eruption continues, new evacuations were ordered in Tajuya, while the remaining parts of Tacande were also evacuated.

8. The popular Boppy Lounge Pillows are being recalled after a reported eight infant deaths. The recall, announced by the Boppy Company, includes 3.3 million of its infant lounge pillows, including the Boppy Original, Preferred Newborn Loungers and the Pottery Barn Kids Boppy Newborn Lounger. The danger occurs when unsupervised infants roll over and then cannot move. This position causes the soft fabric to block their airways, which suffocates them.

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.

Comments are closed.