AMU Emergency Management Original Public Safety

EDM Wednesday Briefing: Midwest, New England Face More Snow

Emergency and disaster management briefing for February 2, 2022: Several colleges and universities received bomb threats that led to shelter-in-place orders; a fierce winter storm is set to batter states from the Midwest to New England; renewables pose a dangerous fire hazard to recycling facilities; Tesla is recalling all of its full self-driving feature vehicles; CDOT is working to minimize power outages on the Eisenhower-Johnson Tunnel; an Alaska Airlines flight was part of an unspecified bomb threat at the San Diego International Airport; another round of heavy winds targets San Francisco’s Bay Area; and two campus police officers were shot and killed in the line of duty at Bridgewater College.

1. A total of at least six colleges and universities in the nation received bomb threats on Monday and Tuesday. Several colleges and universities in the Washington, DC, and Maryland areas were allegedly among those that received bomb threats. In the early morning hours on Tuesday, Howard University and Morgan State University, located in Maryland, were ordered to shelter-in-place. For the majority of the schools that were threatened, classes were either cancelled or moved online.

2. As a fierce winter storm bears down on the Midwest, hundreds of schools were cancelled across the Detroit metro area. The storm is set to dump anywhere from 8-12+ inches of snow in affected areas, which includes large swaths of Texas, Kansas, Missouri, Michigan, Indiana and Illinois. In Illinois, the governor declared a state of emergency for the central portion of the state due to the storm and also activated the National Guard.

3. Renewables allegedly pose a dangerous fire threat to recycling facilities when those items are improperly recycled. According to reports, a lithium-ion battery sparked a 2016 fire at the Shoreway Environmental Center in San Carlos, California. Since that event, the facility has experienced at least 45 additional fires sparked by lithium-ion batteries. Shoreway is not alone, however. In a 2018 survey, a majority of recycling facilities noted that they had experienced at least one fire related to a lithium-ion battery over the last two years.

4. Tesla is recalling all of its vehicles with the “full self-driving” feature, which equates to a total of 53,822 cars. The cars are currently programmed to allow the vehicle to roll through a stop sign once stringent criteria are met. Tesla made the decision to disable the feature after meeting with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in January.

5. The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is working to eliminate Eisenhower-Johnson Tunnel closures due to power outages. The tunnel is powered from both sides of the Continental Divide, and switching power back and forth between the two sides was done manually until recently. The power grid system was recently upgraded from analog to digital, allowing automatic transfers of power from one side to the other.

6. An Alaska Airlines flight was evacuated for a bomb threat after landing at the San Diego International Airport on Monday evening. The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) stated it had received a non-specific bomb threat, which prompted a multi-agency response at the airport. Flight 3352, which originated in San Francisco, landed at the airport at 5:08 p.m. Passengers deplaned, and the aircraft was deemed all clear after no explosives were found.

7. Another round of heavy winds is set to impact California’s Bay Area between Tuesday and Thursday this week. Winds of up to 50 mph are forecast, which are likely to down trees and power lines, cutting power to area residents. CalFire also noted that the area is susceptible to wind-driven wildfires, even though it is still February. Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) noted that it had moved crews to the area most likely to be impacted.

8. Two campus police officers were shot and killed Tuesday on the campus of a private college in Virginia. Early afternoon on Tuesday, a lockdown was initiated by Bridgewater College officials due to a shooter on campus. State and local law enforcement officers searched for the gunman who had opened fire on the officers. The shooter was later apprehended on an island in the middle of a river.

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.