Home Emergency Management News EDM Wednesday Briefing: Lincoln County Preemptively Declares State of Emergency Ahead of Storm Area 51 Events
EDM Wednesday Briefing: Lincoln County Preemptively Declares State of Emergency Ahead of Storm Area 51 Events

EDM Wednesday Briefing: Lincoln County Preemptively Declares State of Emergency Ahead of Storm Area 51 Events

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for August 21, 2019: Lincoln County, Nevada, has preemptively declared a state of emergency ahead of looming Storm Area 51 events; twenty-three towns in Texas were hit on the same day with a coordinated ransomware attack; Sao Paulo, Brazil, was plunged into darkness Monday as heavy smoke blanketed the city; a listeria outbreak in Spain has left one person dead and over 100 sickened; the search for two firefighters who went missing off the coast of Florida during a fishing trip has intensified; a FEMA disaster recovery center has opened for residents affected by flooding in Dawson County, Nebraska; Sonoma County has planned a full-scale evacuation drill for residents of Cavedale-Trinity; and real-time, interactive wildfire and disaster maps are now available to the public for free to help ensure preparedness.

1) Officials in Lincoln County, Nevada unanimously agreed to preemptively declare a state of emergency as "Storm Area 51" looms closer. The tongue-in-cheek challenge to storm the military's classified test and training installation in the Nevada desert on September 21 was posted on social media via Facebook, and it has generated more than 2 million acceptances since then. Unsure as to what they may face, county leaders want to be prepared to handle any crisis that may result if people actually take the challenge seriously or decide to visit the outpost in September.

2) The Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) stated that computer systems in 23 towns suffered a coordinated ransomware attack on August 16. According to reports, the large-scale coordinated attack was conducted by a "single threat actor" who is holding the data in the towns' computer systems for ransom. A Level 2 Escalated Response was declared by the governor of Texas. It is unknown if sufficient security levels were present on the systems that were hacked or if the 23 towns that were hacked had data backups.

3) Sao Paulo, Brazil, was plunged into darkness on Monday as thick, heavy smoke blanketed the city in the middle of the day. The smoke over the city was from raging wildfires burning hundreds of miles away in the Amazon. Fire season in the Amazon is just beginning, and the wildfires are already so bad that Brazil's largest state, Amazonas, has declared a state of emergency over the increasing number of wildfires.

4) One person has died and over 100 others have been sickened amid a listeria outbreak in Spain. The outbreak was first reported on August 15, and according to reports, at least half of those who have been sickened remain hospitalized. The listeria outbreak was traced by officials to a pork meat supplier from southern Andalusia, Magrudis. The plant was closed, products were pulled from shelves and a nationwide alert was issued regarding the affected products.

5) The search has intensified for two firefighters who went missing during a fishing trip on Friday off the coast of Port Canaveral. Brian McCluney and Justin Walker were last seen when they launched a 22-foot fishing boat on Friday, prompting a massive search effort by the Coast Guard, the U.S. Navy, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, the Brevard County Sheriff's Office, firefighters and civilian boats. On Monday, an off-shore angular fishing bag -- confirmed as belonging to McCluney -- was found about 50 nautical miles east of St. Augustine, sparking hope that the men are still alive.

6) Nebraska residents living in Dawson County can now apply for aid at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disaster recovery center that has opened in Lexington. Residents that were impacted by disastrous floodwaters should be prepared to present proper identification, along with proof of insurance, when they apply for assistance at the newly opened FEMA center. The application process takes about an hour, and can also be done online and by telephone. Additional assistance may be available for residents from other agencies, including the Small Business Administration (SBA).

7) Sonoma County is conducting its first full-scale evacuation drill on Saturday, August 24, for residents of Cavedale-Trinity, due to its high threat variables for wildfires. The Department of Emergency Management determined that the community was at a higher risk due to limited access and thick vegetation, and participation by residents in the evacuation drill will greatly enhance preparedness. The department collaborated with community groups, residents and local first responders -- including firefighters -- to make the drill possible. Residents wishing to participate should sign up to receive an alert when the drill begins.

8) A company that provides interactive maps that display wildfires and disasters in real time, along with historical data, has made access to its maps available to the public for free. In July, Esri removed all login credentials to its interactive maps that receive data reported live from multiple sources, including the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), the National Weather Service (NWS) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), as part of its Disaster Response Program. The increasing number and severity of natural disasters prompted the company to provide access to the public for free in order to help them be more informed and better prepared during a disaster.

 

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.