AMU Emergency Management Original Public Safety

EDM Wednesday Briefing: PG&E Explores Remote Grid Initiative

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for February 3, 2021: Disaster loan assistance from the SBA is available for eligible residents and business affected by the Christmas Day Nashville bombing; a Washington State House Bill would require comprehensive disaster preparedness for long-term senior residents that address communication and visitation gaps; two FBI agents are dead and three wounded after they attempted to serve a search warrant in Florida; the use of earth moving equipment to fight fires may release dangerous microbes into wildfire smoke; the Remote Grid Initiative by PG&E may reduce the use of power lines that cross high-fire threat terrain; the lava lake at the Halemaumau crater on Mount Kilauea is now nearly 700 feet deep; Washington State announces December data breach which likely compromised the personal information of 1.6 million residents; and FEMA CEO is offering free webinars for families to reduce future natural disaster risk through home mitigation efforts.

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1. The Christmas Day bombing in Nashville caused widespread damage and destruction to residences and businesses. In an effort to assist the community in its recovery, the disaster loan program is now available from the Small Business Administration (SBA). Eligible applicants in Davidson County should apply through the Virtual Disaster Loan Outreach Center, either online or by phone.

2. A House Bill proposed in Washington State would require comprehensive disaster preparedness plans in long-term senior residences. The bill addresses communication gaps and issues, along with isolation and safety measures that the pandemic exposed. Most notably, House Bill 1218 would provide the resident with an emotional support person who can visit him or her during a disaster to ensure the emotional, mental, and physical well-being of the resident.

3. Two FBI agents are dead and three others are injured after they attempted to serve a warrant on a suspect in Broward County, Florida. The incident occurred early Tuesday morning in Sunrise, when agents approached a home to serve a search warrant to a suspect in a child pornography case. The gunman, who was later found deceased, opened fire on the agents as they approached the door.

4. New research suggests that wildfire smoke contains microbes that may affect the long-term health of impacted populations. The use of earth-moving equipment, such as bulldozers, releases soil particulates that contain possibly trillions of microbes, which mix with the heavy smoke from wildfires. According to new research, these soil microbes may contain dangerous pathogens that could sicken people who are exposed to them, most especially firefighters.

5. Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) is exploring the option of remote grids for locations for which the hardening of high-risk power lines is not cost-effective. The Remote Grid Initiative calls for the use of solar, batteries and generators to replace traditional electrical supplies. The initiative would reduce the use of high-risk power lines that cross high-fire threat terrain, and it would make the delivery of electrical power safer and more cost-effective.

6. The lava lake in the Halemaumau crater at Mount Kilauea in Hawaii is now nearly 700 feet deep. The volcano began erupting again on December 20, 2020, and lava flows continue from the western fissure. Sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions remain elevated, although there is no indication that magma is moving into either of the rift zones.

7. The personal information of nearly 1.6 million people who filed for unemployment benefits in 2020 in Washington State may have been compromised. A data breach that occurred in December — which may also have impacted the data of local governments and other state agencies — was recently announced by the Washington State Auditor. The cybersecurity breach was perpetrated via a third-party server, Accellion, which is used by the state auditor’s office.

8. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is offering a series of free webinars in February to address future risk through mitigation for families and their homes. The webinars are being offered by the FEMA Community and Education Outreach (CEO) staff to help families reduce risk from future natural disasters and reduce the severity, damage, and danger to them and their homes. Twice daily on Tuesdays and Thursdays in February, FEMA CEO will offer webinars via Adobe Connect with varying topics on mitigation and preparedness. The sessions will also be recorded and can be accessed at a later time.


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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