AMU Emergency Management Original Public Safety

EDM Monday Briefing: CISA and CSCC to Host Chemical Security Summit

Emergency and disaster management briefing for November 22, 2021: New lands and structures are being destroyed by the La Palma volcano lava flows; employees were pepper-sprayed, kicked, and punched when at least 80 people looted a Nordstrom store in Walnut Creek, California; at least five people are dead and another 40 are injured after an SUV rammed into a parade in Wisconsin; a cyberattack forced wind turbine maker Vestas to shut down its computer systems in various locations, which has impacted production; AT&T has been ordered to remove underwater telephone cables in Lake Tahoe; Santa Ana winds have triggered a Red Flag Warning for much of Southern California; CISA and the CSCC are hosting a virtual Chemical Security Summit in December; and fire-wise property has become a selling point for buyers when considering homes at risk of wildfires.

1. New lava flows have occurred with the intensified eruptions of the Cumbre Vieja volcano on La Palma in the Canary Islands. Previously untouched lands were affected by the new lava flows, including the Todoque region, where additional structures were destroyed. Banana plantations continue to be covered with slow-moving lava, and increased seismic activity of higher intensity earthquakes has also been recorded.

2. Employees at a Nordstrom store in Walnut Creek, California, were pepper-sprayed, kicked, and punched when about 80 looters stormed the store, grabbed merchandise, and fled. Reportedly, approximately 25 cars blocked the streets outside the store Saturday night just before 9 p.m. Looters in ski masks jumped out, ran into Nordstrom, grabbed merchandise, and fled the scene. At least three people were arrested by police, including two people who were in a car that was stopped by police.

3. Police and fire departments responded to a mass casualty incident in Waukesha, Wisconsin, on Sunday, when a vehicle plowed into a holiday parade. The incident occurred at the intersection of Main and Barstow, where dozens were injured or killed when a red Ford Escape sped down the street and struck people in the parade. Law enforcement has confirmed the deaths of at least five people, and the vehicle and suspect have been detained.

4. A cyberattack forced wind turbine maker Vestas to shut down computer systems on Friday at several locations. The shutdown affected customers, employees, and stakeholders, and Vestas noted that it was working with internal and external sources to restore its systems. The cyberattack affected only the wind turbine production sector of the company’s system and not systems related to customer turbines already in operation or the ability of Vestas to service those operating turbines.

5. Abandoned telephone cables underwater off the west shore of Lake Tahoe are allegedly leaching lead into the lake, which provides drinking water, fish habitats, and recreation for millions of people. Abandoned by Pac Bell in 1980s, the court recently ordered removal of more than 75 tons of cables, which allegedly contain more than 60 tons of lead. AT&T bought Pac Bell, who may have laid the cables in the 1930s. The company has agreed to commit $1.5 million to their removal, which will be completed by next year.

6. Santa Ana winds are forecast through Monday afternoon across southern California. There is a potential risk for power outages and travel concerns as the wind is funneled into passes and canyons south of Bakersfield to just north of San Diego. Due to the potential for fire ignitions, a Red Flag Warning is also in effect until Monday afternoon for that entire region.

7. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), in collaboration with the Chemical Sector Coordinating Council (CSCC), will host the Chemical Security Summit virtually this December. The series of seminars will be held on December 1, 8, and 15, and it will provide pertinent chemical security information and best practices across the industry. The virtual seminar series is designed for industry organizations, facility operators and owners, government officials, first responders, and law enforcement. Attendance is free; however, registration is required by November 30.

8. Fire-wise properties have increasingly become a selling point for potential buyers. A new requirement that began on January 1, 2021, requires residents selling property in California to disclose if the property is in a high fire hazard zone. The disclosure also identifies the vulnerabilities of the home, along with defensible features. Not all states have such regulations. Oregon, however, has an online tool to help prospective buyers identify if the home they are considering buying is in an ignition zone. The Oregon Wildfire Risk Explorer is the online tool, but buyers and sellers should also consider an on-the-ground site assessment by a fire professional.

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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