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EDM Monday Briefing: November is Infrastructure Security Month

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for November 9, 2020: November is infrastructure security month; Tropical Storm Eta is forecast to become a hurricane again before its second landfall in Florida; search and rescue efforts continue in Guatemala after a massive landslide inundates a remote village; a vaccine shown to be 90 percent effective against the novel coronavirus may see emergency use by the end of November; planning and guidance to protect soft targets and crowded places is available from CISA; at least 20 people were displaced from their homes in Massachusetts after a 3.6 magnitude earthquake struck near Dartmouth; cooler temperatures along with steady rain showers and snowfall should help squelch wildfires and improve air quality in California; and the FBI says cyberattacks have quadrupled since the start of the pandemic.

  1. Critical infrastructure plays a vital role by ensuring the safety, security, and prosperity of the nation. [link url=”,%202020.pdf” title=”November is infrastructure security month”], and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is encouraging organizations to address evolving issues amid the pandemic, such as, ensuring the ability of remote workers supporting ongoing infrastructure operations across the nation amid the pandemic, to work safely and securely. A number of resources are available from CISA, who has identified two sub-themes for this month’s awareness: [link url=”” title=”Security and Response During a Global Pandemic, and The Future of Securing Critical Infrastructure”].
  2. [link url=”” title=”Tropical Storm Eta slammed into Cuba then made landfall in the Florida Keys on Sunday night”], bringing torrential rainfall and high winds. At least 45,000 people were without power as of Monday, and tropical storm conditions are forecast for portions of the Florida Keys, along with south and central Florida, throughout Monday. [link url=”” title=”Eta is forecast to become a hurricane again once it moves out over the Gulf of Mexico”], before it turns to the north and makes landfall again somewhere along the west coast of Florida.
  3. Search and rescues teams rushed to find survivors in a remote village in central [link url=”” title=”Guatemala after a massive landslide buried the homes of over 100 people”]. Officials believe at least 125 people were killed when their homes were buried by mud and debris after a mountainside sheared off and slammed into the remote village of Quejá on Saturday. [link url=”″ title=”Rescuers digging through the mud and debris had already found at least 3 bodies”], but officials expect that number to rise as search efforts continue.
  4. [link url=”” title=”Initial testing of a vaccine for the novel coronavirus has allegedly proven more than 90 percent effective”]. The vaccine, developed by Pfizer in partnership with BioNTech SE, was used to treat 94 subjects infected with the virus, of whom had developed at least one symptom. According to reports, if pending data indicate the vaccine is safe, Pfizer may apply for emergency use of the COVID-19 vaccine with the goal of selling the shot before the end of November.
  5. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is encouraging first responders, venues, business owners, and the public to [link url=”,%202020.pdf” title=”help secure soft targets and crowded places from terrorist attacks”]. CISA offers planning and response guidance that addresses active shooters, vehicle ramming, chemical attacks and fire as a weapon in its [link url=”” title=”Securing Soft Targets and Crowded Places”]. Guidance included in the planning and response resource covers topics such as evacuation planning for stadiums, drone attack challenges, identifying, preventing, and responding to bombs and explosives, and suspicious activity identification, reporting, and insider threats.
  6. A [link url=”” title=”magnitude 3.6 earthquake struck about 4 miles south-southwest of Bliss Corner, Massachusetts”], near Dartmouth, on Sunday morning. The earthquake struck at the depth of about 6.2 miles, and shaking from the temblor was felt widely across New England. According to reports, [link url=”” title=”minor damage from the quake displaced about 10 families, which totaled about 22 people, due to structural damage to their homes in New Bedford”].
  7. Temperatures dropped, rain fell, and snow covered mountains across Central and Southern California after a winter storm moved through the region over the weekend. [link url=”” title=”The rain and snowfall are anticipated to help dampen the wildfires in the Sierra, and possibly relieve the San Joaquin Valley of its air quality issues emanating from all the fires”]. The slow and steady rainfall allowed the water to seep into the ground, and as the cooler temperatures are expected to last for several days, it will also assist in wildfire prevention.
  8. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), [link url=”” title=”cyberattacks have nearly quadrupled since the pandemic began”]. The FBI is attributing the increased attacks to the number of potential failure points which have expanded significantly due to the rapid increase of remote workers. Officials are urging cybersecurity leaders to improve the security of remote users, devices, and data through the [link url=”,%202020.pdf” title=”expeditious implementation of critical projects including, among others, zero trust, software-defined security, and access management”].

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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