Home Emergency Management News EDM Friday Briefing: 4.1 Earthquake Hits Delaware; Whooping Cough Outbreak

EDM Friday Briefing: 4.1 Earthquake Hits Delaware; Whooping Cough Outbreak


Emergency and disaster management briefing for December 1, 2017: The Mid-Atlantic was rattled by a 4.1 magnitude earthquake on Thursday, the 2017 hurricane season is one for the history books, Argentina suspends rescue mission for submarine crew, whooping cough cases are identified and confirmed in Henderson County, North Carolina, WHO says drug shortages open the door for counterfeit medicines in low- and middle-income nations, a disaster symposium at Rhode Island Hospital focused on the emotional toll of mass trauma, after four major disasters, FEMA is on its longest activation in the agency's history, and Texas dispatchers train for deployment to other call centers during disasters.

  1. A 4.1 earthquake rattled the Mid-Atlantic region, on Thursday afternoon, occurring just outside Dover, Delaware at 4:45 p.m. EST. Due to the quakes shallowness, it was felt by people in Baltimore, Boston, New Jersey, New York City, and Philadelphia. The quake was originally reported as being a 5.1 magnitude, but was later officially registered at a magnitude of 4.1, with no reports of damage or injuries
  2. The end of November marked the official end of an active 2017 Atlantic hurricane season. The 2017 season produced 17 named storms, 10 of which became hurricanes, with six of those gaining the status of a major hurricane. The 2017 season was also deadly, claiming the lives of at least 438 people, with initial damage estimates reaching $369.6 billion dollars, making it the worst hurricane season since 2005.
  3. After 15 days of searching, officials in Argentina are no longer looking for survivors of the missing submarine that lost contact on November 15 with 44 crew members onboard. The search for the missing submarine has employed some of the latest technology in the largest rescue effort of its kind, that included 28 ships, 9 aircraft, 4,000 people and assistance and support from 18 countries. Ships have searched over one million nautical miles, while aircraft have flown at least 557,000 nautical miles in hopes of discovering the submarine or any survivors. 
  4. Health officials in Henderson County, North Carolina have identified and confirmed eight cases of whooping cough in five area schools. Whooping cough is highly contagious and is spread through coughing or sneezing, prompting officials to also identify at least 1,000 individuals who have had close contact with the infected students. Symptoms can begin up to 21 days after exposure and mimic a cold, but become more severe, and according to health officials, the infection can last for months and is especially dangerous to pregnant women, infants, and those with weakened immune systems.
  5. The World Health Organization (WHO) has released a report indicating that counterfeit drugs account for 1 in 10 medical products circulating in low- and middle-income countries. WHO also stated that this includes vaccines, pills, and diagnostic kits and encompasses all types of products: generic, innovative, expensive or not. According to the report, drug shortages provide an opportunity to flood the market with counterfeit or substandard drugs, placing communities at-risk, with 10.5 percent of medications failing to treat the condition for which they are intended. 
  6. Lifespan medical professionals at the Rhode Island Hospital recently engaged in a disaster psychiatry symposium addressing the emotional toll of mass trauma. The conference was designed to help staff provide appropriate care during times of high-stress, such as during a mass trauma, including how to speak with all individuals, old or young, while also addressing their own needs. The symposium also provided an opportunity for colleagues to get to know each other, better enabling them to work together during a mass trauma incident.
  7. The four recent major disasters to strike the United States has now placed the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) staff on its longest activation in the history of the department. According to Brock Long, FEMA's administrator, the agency finds itself as the first or only responder in many disasters, a role it was never designed to fulfill. Brock's goal is to address FEMA's role in disaster management and emergency recovery and help the nation become more resilient.
  8. Dispatchers in Sherman, Texas, are being trained to deploy for disasters in other locations, allowing them to assist other call centers during a natural or human-caused disaster. The training is important because each call center is different, and codes for specific emergencies vary by city or state. The training was provided by the Texas Telecommuter Emergency Response Taskforce to train staff to deploy as support for affected call centers with additional and relief staffing 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.