AMU Emergency Management Original Public Safety

EDM Monday Briefing: October 3-9 Is National Fire Prevention Week

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

Image courtesy of Malachi Brooks on Unsplash.

Emergency and disaster management briefing for September 27, 2021: National Fire Prevention Week is October 3-9; intermittent ash emission eruptions began again at the Cumbre Vieja volcano; staffing shortages are contributing to the logjam of ships anchored off shore on both the East and West Coasts; three people are dead after an Amtrak train derailed Saturday afternoon in a remote location in Montana; NIFC downgrades the National Preparedness Level to 4; the NTSB finds inadequate communication was the likely reason for the head-on barge collision in January of 2020; the KNP Complex has now scorched over 46,000 acres as firefighters work to save giant sequoia trees; and FEMA is hosting a webinar covering the FEMA IPAWS Program Planning Toolkit.

1. National Fire Prevention Week is October 3-9, and this year’s theme is “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety.” The effort is focused on assisting citizens with identifying the different sounds that smoke and carbon monoxide alarms make. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has a dedicated website for Fire Prevention Week and features a video that highlights the sounds of the different alarms. It also describes actions that should be taken based on the alarm.

2. Reportedly, the Cumbre Vieja volcano is again erupting in a series of intermittent ash emissions. The eruptions are occurring at about 10-minute intervals, and weak seismic activity continues. Lava flows from the recent eruptions covers approximately 546 acres (0.3%) of the island, with some lava slowly making its way toward the ocean.

3. Short-staffed ports are contributing to the logjam of ships anchored offshore, awaiting berthing and offloading. In addition to the 62 ships reportedly waiting to dock in the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, ships are now anchored off Long Island as they wait to dock at the New Jersey and New York ports. A lack of truck drivers is also contributing to the overall supply chain disruption, which caused FedEx to reroute at least 25% of its packages.

4. An Amtrak train derailed outside Joplin, Montana, on Saturday afternoon, killing at least three people. The train, known as the Empire Builder, was traveling on BNSF tracks at the time of the incident. At least 146 passengers and about 16 crew members were onboard the train when a reported seven of 10 carriages derailed. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is said to be en route to begin investigating the incident, the cause of which is currently unknown.

5. According to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) statistics, the majority of current wildfire activity is primarily occurring in Idaho (20), Montana (11) and California (10). A total of 64 major wildfires have scorched over 3.14 million acres so far this wildfire season, although recent weather changes across the Northwest have assisted firefighters in reaching containment goals. As a result of the reduction in wildfire activity, the NIFC stated that the U.S. has decreased to National Preparedness Level 4.

6. A recently released report by the NTSB alleges that inadequate communication, in conjunction with a failure to broadcast total sizes, led to a fatal Mississippi River barge crash in January of 2020. Two towboats in Louisiana, the RC Creppel, and the Cooperative Spirit, were pushing barges when they were involved in a head-on collision that killed three people. The RC Creppel overturned and sank, which leaked 8,000 gallons of diesel fuel into the river. At least one barge that was hit leaked sulfuric acid vapors.

7. The KNP Complex – two separate wildfires that started as a result of lightning strikes on September 9 – has reached nearly 47,000 acres. The wildfire is burning in the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, and threatens giant sequoia trees within Sequoia National Park. The fire is only 8% contained and more than1,800 personnel are assigned to the fire, which is likely to experience extreme fire behavior amid current weather forecasts.

8. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is hosting a webinar on the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) Program Planning Toolkit on October 7. IPAWS is designed to send messages directly to the public through mobile phones, radio, and television, along with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Weather Radio. The main focus of the webinar is to help attendees understand how the toolkit can help emergency management officials disseminate authentic, life-saving information to the public. Anyone can participate in the webinar; however, registration is required.

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.