AMU Emergency Management Public Safety

EDM Friday Briefing: Two Critically Injured in Plane Crash in Unalaska

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for October 18, 2019: A handy visual aid is available from PHMSA for hazardous materials identification at hazmat incidents for first responders; two people were critically injured and 10 others hurt when a plane skidded off the runway at the Unalaska Airport in Alaska; NIOSH has made a new toolkit available to first responders to help protect them from fentanyl exposure; a wildfire that broke out in Santa Barbara County prompted evacuations and shut down Highway 101; security needs to be the top priority in the push to fully automate the nation’s ports; a prescribed burn got away from firefighters in Colorado and prompted evacuations near Fort Collins; Florida says it has hired the first-ever disaster recovery state mental health coordinator; and Riverside County has approved an emergency declaration in the wake of the Sandalwood and three other fires that devastated the area late last week.

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1) A handy visual aid is available for first responders in the event of a hazardous materials spill. The quickly scannable DOT Chart 16-Hazardous Materials Markings, Labeling, and Placarding Guide is available from the Department of Transportation (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). The four-page document can be printed and placed in emergency response vehicles for quick and easy reference, or it can be accessed via a mobile phone app that is available for both iPhone and Android. The quickly-scannable format provides general information on standard hazardous materials markings to assist users with initial scene assessments.

2) Two people were critically injured and 10 others were receiving medical treatment after a commuter plane ran off the end of the runway upon landing at a small airport in Alaska. PenAir Flight 3296 was carrying 38 passengers and three crew members when the Saab-Scania 2000 aircraft landed at the Unalaska Airport, ran off the end of the runway and came to rest on a pile of rocks along a body of water. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is leading the investigation into the incident. Initial reports indicate that strong winds may have been a factor in the accident.

3) A new toolkit for first responders has been added to the library of fentanyl resources by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Targeting first responder safety, the new toolkit offers information to help ensure protection from exposure to fentanyl or other dangerous drugs and drug paraphernalia. There are videos, infographics, and postcards, which offer a variety of information on donning and doffing personal protective equipment (PPE), decontaminating before returning home, and spotting illicit drugs.

4) A wildfire that broke out in Santa Barbara County, California on Thursday prompted the evacuation of the El Capitan coastal campground. The blaze also forced the shutdown of Highway 101 and halted train service, including Amtrak and Union Pacific. The Real Fire broke out near Gaviota at around 4:30 p.m. and had grown to 443 acres by 10:00 p.m., with only 20 percent containment. Evacuations were also ordered for residents along coastal areas from Dos Pueblos Canyon to Gaviota, but were later lifted. Air tankers and ground crews are working together to contain the wildfire.

5) The nation’s ports are working to become automated, but the connected systems could leave the nation vulnerable to attacks and illicit cargo. Ports are typically owned and operated by municipalities, and they often have fixed, low budgets that could leave them vulnerable to dynamic threats that arise through automation. As efficiency in moving cargo becomes more automated, accountability in each step of the process is at high risk. No organization is in place to ensure that oversight or standardization processes are in place.

6) A prescribed burn turned into a wildfire that prompted the evacuation of residents northwest of Fort Collins, Colorado, on Wednesday. The Elk Fire got away from firefighters when high winds pushed the wildfire outside the 500 acres of the planned burn. As of late Thursday, evacuations were lifted and further spread was prevented by air tankers and ground crews, which brought the fire to 80 percent containment and a total of 622 acres burned.

7) A dramatic increase in the number of post-disaster mental health issues, especially among children, prompted Florida to take action. The state has hired a mental health coordinator to address mental health needs during disaster recovery efforts. Florida is touting the position as the first statewide position of its kind in emergency management and one that is increasing in need as disasters become more prevalent across the nation.

8) Riverside County in California approved an emergency declaration following the devastating and deadly fire that burned through Calimesa last week and for three other wind-driven wildfires. The declaration will allow residents to obtain assistance from local and state resources in the aftermath of the Eagle, Reche Canyon, Sandalwood, and Wolf fires. The worst of the fires, the Sandalwood Fire, claimed two lives and destroyed 90 structures, the majority of them mobile homes in Calimesa.


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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