Home Emergency Management News EDM Monday Briefing: Two Baton Rouge Officers Shot by Murder Suspect
EDM Monday Briefing: Two Baton Rouge Officers Shot by Murder Suspect

EDM Monday Briefing: Two Baton Rouge Officers Shot by Murder Suspect

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for April 27, 2020: One Baton Rouge police officer is dead, and another is fighting for his life after being shot on Sunday; agencies providing emergency protection measures in response to COVID-19 may be eligible for reimbursement from FEMA, but strict rules apply; a new tool that measures Earth's nitrogen may assist in signaling volcanic eruptions; President Trump issued a disaster declaration for eight counties in Tennessee in the wake of multiple deadly tornadoes on Easter Sunday; a new report identifies the top 10 deadliest and costliest disasters of the last decade; severe thunderstorms rolled through South Florida on Sunday and produced near hurricane-strength wind gusts; resources are available online to assist Alternate Care Sites amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic; and emergency management agencies may face unprecedented challenges in preparing and responding to other disasters amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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1) One police officer is dead and another is in critical condition after being shot by a suspect on Sunday in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Police officers, along with the SWAT team, had a four-hour long standoff with the suspected shooter, Ronnie Kato, 36, before he was taken into custody later in the day. The shooting occurred while police were following up on tips regarding the suspect, who was wanted in connection with a domestic homicide that occurred early Sunday morning.

2) Agencies, including private non-profits and local governments, that are providing emergency protection measures in response to COVID-19 may be eligible to receive reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). According to a new publication released by FEMA, a prerequisite is required prior to even applying, and there are several steps needed to file for funding. Keeping detailed records of COVID-19 related costs for the department or agency is necessary, as an itemized list of expenses is just one of the required items that will need to be submitted.

3) Prior to a volcanic eruption, the composition of gases emitted by the volcano changes. A recent study shows that scientists may have a new tool useful for helping identify when an eruption is imminent by identifying the origin of Earth's nitrogen. The new method of analyzing "clumped" nitrogen isotopes helped them distinguish between nitrogen in the air and that which comes from deep inside the Earth's mantle, which could one day help to signal an eruption.

4) President Trump issued a disaster declaration on Friday for eight counties in Tennessee that were devastated by tornadoes on Easter Sunday. Four people were killed and Hamilton and Bradley counties were each hit with EF3 tornadoes, one of which devastated an area over one mile long just south of Chattanooga. Cleveland, Tennessee, located in Bradley County, was impacted by four tornadoes, including an EF2 which destroyed 26 homes and heavily damaged another 46.

5) A recent report shows that the last decade saw some of the most deadly and costly disasters in United States history. The top 10 disasters caused more than $400 billion in damages and claimed more than 4,000 lives. Topping the list were four hurricanes, including Harvey, Sandy, Maria, and Irma, with Hurricane Harvey ranking as the second costliest U.S. disaster since 1990 behind Katrina. Other disasters included tornado outbreaks, wildfires and droughts.

6) Severe thunderstorms rolled through South Florida on Sunday and produced frequent bursts of lighting, hail, heavy rainfall, and strong winds. Hail about one inch in diameter was reported, along with downed trees and power lines. Wind gusts of near-hurricane strength were also recorded in Palm Beach County, including one gust at Palm Beach International Airport that was measured at 71 mph.

7) Resources are available online to assist Alternate Care Sites amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The site, maintained by the Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary of Preparedness and Response (ASPR), features a collection of templates, plans, and tools, among other resources. Many of these resources were provided by state, local, and private-sector partners that assist in all aspects of Alternate Care Site identification, set-up, and operation. The documents provided are based on best practices and past successes and are provided through the ASPR Technical Resources, Assistance Center, Information Exchange Topic Collection (TRACIE).

8) Emergency management agencies across the nation may face unprecedented challenges, including reduced and/or limited capacity, if their communities are impacted by other disasters amid the ongoing pandemic of COVID-19. Some locations are already stretched thin due to the pandemic and have already faced additional disasters, including tornadoes, flooding and wildfires. The current pandemic has also restricted training drills, placing communities at increased risk, even as severe weather is here and the beginning of hurricane season looms close on Friday. Key challenges are likely to be evacuation and sheltering protocols, which may need adjustment amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Experts caution that any changes to public response should be made ahead of a disaster, not during one.

 

Kimberly Arsenault 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.