Home Emergency Management News EDM Wednesday Briefing: PG&E Power Shutoffs Underway amid Red Flag Warnings
EDM Wednesday Briefing: PG&E Power Shutoffs Underway amid Red Flag Warnings

EDM Wednesday Briefing: PG&E Power Shutoffs Underway amid Red Flag Warnings


Emergency and disaster management briefing for October 9, 2019: Public safety power shutoffs are already underway by PG&E in Northern and Central California amid red flag warnings; one suspect in the deadly bar shooting in Kansas City is in custody; a patient in a hospital in Sweden has tested negative for Ebola; the USDA expanded the recall for Tip Top Poultry, Inc., RTE products amid concerns the products are tainted with Listeria; a vehicle attack in Limburg, Germany, is being investigated as having a terrorist background; officials at Geisinger Medical Center still stumped by the cause of the mysterious waterborne illness that has killed three NICU infants; at least 20 homes were destroyed by wildfires in Australia; and the NWS forecasts a strong winter storm is set to impact the central United States and the Plains with rapidly dropping temps and up to 12 inches of snow.

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1) Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) is warning of another public-safety power shutoff -- one that will likely impact 800,000 customers across Northern and Central California. The shutoffs were scheduled to begin Wednesday and continue into Thursday after the National Weather Service (NWS) issued a red flag warning from 5:00 a.m. Wednesday to 5:00 p.m. due to extreme fire danger. To assist its customers, PG&E has launched a website with an interactive map where customers can access information regarding shutoffs, including four categories of warning levels and locations of where the shutoffs are likely to occur.

2) Authorities have apprehended one of the suspects involved in the shooting that killed four and wounded five others at a members-only bar in Kansas City on Sunday. The suspect, Javier Alvatorre, 23, was arrested in neighboring Kansas City, Missouri, late Sunday with the assistance of FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) and ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco, and Fire) agents. Police are cautioning area residents that the second suspect, Hugo Villanueva-Morales, 29, is still at large and should be considered armed and dangerous. Residents are warned to avoid approaching him and to contact authorities instead.

3) A patient with a history of travel to suspect regions presented at a hospital in Sweden with symptoms that could be related to Ebola. Following proper protocols, Skane University Hospital in Malmö placed the patient in isolation on Tuesday and then tested the patient for the deadly virus -- the results of which were negative. In January, the results were also negative for another patient in Sweden who had been tested for Ebola.

4) The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) expanded its recall for Tip Top Poultry, Inc. on Tuesday, warning that the ready-to-eat poultry (RTE) products may contain listeria and were used in additional products -- including some that may have been served from deli counters.  The original recall was issued on September 28 and included a undetermined amount of the RTE poultry products distributed throughout the United States and Canada, including frozen cooked, diced, or shredded items that were produced between January 21, 2019 and September 24, 2019. The voluntary recall was issued by the company after testing of multiple samples in Canada confirmed the presence of Listeria monocytogenes.

5) A vehicle attack in the western town of Limburg, Germany, is being treated by authorities as an act of terrorism. The incident occurred on Monday when a man hijacked a lorry and rammed it into a line of eight vehicles stopped at a traffic light. Eight people were injured, including seven who were treated at an area hospital. The suspect, a 32-year-old man from Syria, is known to the police for drugs and grievous bodily harm.

6) Officials at Geisinger Medical Center in Pennsylvania are still searching for answers after a mysterious waterborne bacteria sickened eight babies and caused the deaths of three of those infants in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). According to reports, an infant first contracted a pseudomonas infection in July; then another infant died from the disease in August. A few more babies got sick several weeks later, and two died in September. Officials are still unsure of what caused the infection and have been diverting some patients to other hospitals as a precaution.

7) Spring wildfires have wreaked havoc in Australia, where at least 20 homes have been destroyed in an early start to the nation's fire season. Large areas in Eastern Australia are suffering from some of the worst drought conditions in decades, and the raging wildfires pose greater risks due to tinder-dry vegetation and low water supplies in some areas. Blazes in New South Wales have scorched more than 198,000 acres, and fire services were also monitoring multiple wildfires in Queensland.

8) The National Weather Service (NWS) warned that a powerful winter system is set to impact the central United States and the Plains, with potential snowfall amounts of up to 12 inches. The NWS also predicted the storm will drop temperatures as much as 60 degrees in a day, with Denver likely to see snow and temperatures in the 20s by Wednesday evening -- after highs in the 80s on Tuesday. The strong winter system produced heavy, wet snow in Spokane Tuesday evening. The snow downed power lines and trees, which cut power to some 30,000 residents across the area, and forced school closures.


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.