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EDM Wednesday Briefing: Indiana State Trooper Shot During Traffic Stop

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for December 13, 2017: An Indiana State Police officer is shot by a suspect during a traffic stop, an illegal cooking fire in a homeless encampment started the Skirball Fire, the flu prompts a Dallas area school to close for two days, residents of California are facing a long road to rebuilding, the chronically homeless in Everett, Washington are getting much needed help, thousands remain evacuated as firefighters continue to battle the Thomas Fire, a norovirus outbreak prompts the closure of Hurlburt Field child care centers, and studies reveal climate change likely influenced unprecedented rainfall during Hurricane Harvey.

  1. An Indian State Police officer was shot in Jeffersonville, Indiana while trying to apprehend a suspect Tuesday night. The bullet struck the head of the officer, Trooper Morgenn Evans, when he stopped a vehicle being driven by Oscar Keys, 79, who became combative during the stop. The suspect pulled a gun, shot Evans and then escaped, but was apprehended a short time later in his home and charged with the attempted murder of a police officer. 
  2. Authorities have stated that an illegal cooking fire at a homeless encampment near Sepulveda Boulevard where it passes under the 405 Freeway caused the Skirball Fire, which began early last Wednesday morning. The fire destroyed six homes, damaged 12 others, scorched over 400 acres, and forced the closure of the 405 Freeway, a major north-south artery in Los Angeles. According to reports, no arrests have been made and as of Tuesday evening, the fire was 85 percent contained. 
  3. An outbreak of what officials believe is the flu, has caused a Dallas area school district to cancel classes for Tuesday and Wednesday. Officials with the Sunnyvale Independent School District made the announcement after an increasing number of students and staff began exhibiting flu-like symptoms. The district also saw an increase in the number of confirmed cases of influenza, helping prompt the closure, which will allow increased health and safety protocols, including the disinfection of spaces and buses
  4. Industry experts are cautioning California residents impacted by recent fires that the process for rebuilding is likely to be slower than normal due to the unprecedented number of wildfires this year across the state. The California Department of Insurance indicated that large-scale destruction --just in October--has resulted in more than 21,000 homes, and at least 2,800 businesses being destroyed or damaged. According to recent statements by contractors, the rebuilding process is likely to take anywhere from three to five years due to various bottlenecks.
  5. A group of concerned citizens is helping to address the mentally ill, drug addicted homeless community in Everett, Washington after it saw the issue of its unsheltered, chronically homeless more than double since 2015. The city has struggled to address the issue which seems to have exploded due to the opioid epidemic, among other things, including rising rents, affordable housing shortages, and the lack of unskilled jobs. Last month, the city partially activated its emergency coordination center to deal with the opioid epidemic, and its officials became the first to sue Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin, earlier this year.
  6. Fire fighting crews in California are still battling to keep the Thomas Fire from roaring down mountainsides and into Los Angeles neighborhoods amid unpredictable Santa Ana winds. Red Flag warnings have been extended to the end of the week due to low moisture levels and the persistent Santa Ana winds, which are expected to have increased gusts Thursday and Friday. Thousands of people remain evacuated, and poor air quality levels have kept dozens of schools closed.
  7. An Air Force installation in Florida, Hurlburt Field, has announced that it's child care centers will be closed until December 18 due to an outbreak of the norovirus. The establishment's youth center and three child development centers were closed to help prevent the continued spread of the illness. Norovirus, which is contagious, causes stomach pain, nausea, and diarrhea.
  8. Two independent studies recently published suggest that climate change played a significant part in the rainfall generated by Hurricane Harvey. Research conducted points to a warming climate that likely increased the rainfall of Harvey by at least 15-19 percent and increases such events to a 1-in-800 year event. The studies also highlighted inadequacies in today's flood maps, and pointed to the need to continually update flood maps in the face of climate change.

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.