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EDM Monday Briefing: Napa County Proposes Rapid-Response Planes

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for March 29, 2021: Nashville’s mayor declared a state of emergency after flash flooding from severe weather killed four people; an earthquake swarm was detected beneath the Clear Lake volcano in California; malware is masquerading as a legitimate software update for Android devices; a Napa County firefighting plan seeks the use of small rapid-response planes to prevent massive wildfires; the FDA announced a recall of multiple varieties of pet foods produced by Midwestern Pet Foods; five people were killed in a helicopter crash in Alaska’s backcountry; technical and human error are possible factors in the container ship running aground in the Suez Canal; and shipping disruptions and backlogs may take weeks or months to clear, while security risks mount for ships being rerouted through high-risk areas.

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1. A state of emergency was declared by the mayor in Nashville, Tennessee, after floodwaters caused by severe weather inundated the city. Four residents were killed by the flooding, and first responders performed swift-water rescues for dozens of people across the greater Nashville area. The flash flooding inundated homes and businesses and closed roadways after a total of more than seven inches of rain fell across the city over two days.

2. An earthquake swarm was detected beneath the Clear Lake volcano in California over the weekend. Over a 21-hour period on Sunday, a total of 20 earthquakes with magnitudes of up to 2.0 were observed. The quakes occurred at very shallow depths of about 0.1 miles to two miles beneath the volcano. The volcano field is located about 90 miles north of San Francisco, in the northern Coast Ranges.

3. IT security experts are warning consumers of malware that is masquerading as a legitimate software update on Android devices. Yet to be named, the malware is known as a RAT — Remote Access Trojan — that is very sophisticated, a rare feature among other, similar malware. This malware is able to bypass normal security measures through a variety of mechanisms, which experts say may be a result of it being a targeted attack.

4. A Napa County group wants to prevent the next Glass Fire through the use of private firefighting aircraft. The firefighting plan proposes to have on standby two rapid-response aircraft capable of being launched on very short notice to fight fires. Known as a Fire Boss, the aircraft is a single-engine plane with the capability of carrying 800 gallons of water to drop on a fire. A request was made asking CalFire to incorporate the rapid-response planes into the agency’s local firefighting plan.

5. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a voluntary recall of multiple brands of pet food produced by Midwestern Pet Foods. The foods were produced at the company’s Monmouth facility in Illinois and were shipped to retailers nationwide and sold online. The recall includes both dog and cat food products and is due to their potential contamination with Salmonella. Some of the brand names involved in the recall include Earthborn Holistic, Venture, Unrefined, CanineX, Sportmix Wholesomes and Pro Pac.

6. A helicopter crash in Alaska on Saturday left five people dead and one person with serious injuries. The aircraft, an Airbus AS350 B3 helicopter,  was chartered for a backcountry heli-skiing trip near the Knik Glacier, about 60 miles northeast of Anchorage. The cause of the crash is not known, and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is already investigating the incident.

7. The Evergreen ship, the Ever Given, ran aground last week amid a sandstorm with high winds. Officials investigating the incident said that technical and human error may also have been a factor in the ship running aground. There are 14 tugboats pushing and pulling the ship, which is now moving within the canal.

8. Nearly 370 ships are waiting to pass through the Suez Canal once a container ship that is blocking the canal is freed. According to reports, daily losses are costing the canal about $15 million, and shipping and goods disruptions and backlogs could take weeks, possibly months to clear. Some ships are being rerouted around the Horn of Africa, which may increase security risks from Somali pirate groups.


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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