Home Emergency Management News EDM Wednesday Briefing: Millions Remain Without Power in Florida

EDM Wednesday Briefing: Millions Remain Without Power in Florida

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for September 13, 2017: Hurricane Irma leaves a wide swath of damage and destruction and millions without power, an active shooter in a New Hamphire Hospital kills his mother in intensive care, a young boy and his parents die in an active volcanic pit outside Naples, Italy, new guidelines are released by the Department of Transportation for automated driving systems, police identify the gunman and eight victims of the mass shooting in Plano, Texas, the new forecast track for Hurricane Jose may keep the East Coast out of harms way, double bomb threats evacuated the Santa Monica Pier and surrounding areas Monday, and newly released dash cam video shows a police officer being attacked during a traffic stop in St. Louis last week.

  1. In the wake of Hurricane Irma, about 4.4 million people--at least 40 percent of Florida--are still without power, and cell phone and internet service is spotty in some areas. As the massive clean up and recovery process begins, officials warn that it could take months to clean debris, repair washed out sections of Highway 1, inspect the 42 bridges between Key Largo and Key West and restore power, water, and sewer. Irma is being blamed for 19 deaths in the United States and 37 in the Caribbean
  2. On Tuesday, Travis Frink signed into the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire, went to the intensive care unit and shot and killed his mother. The incident sparked an active shooter alert and a mass evacuation of the hospital staff and patients into the parking lot. After finding the suspects car had Rhode Island license plates, authorities reached out to the area Fusion Center, a command center for information sharing that includes local, state, and federal agents, which helped identify Frink, allowing police to arrest him as he attempted to leave the facility.
  3. A little boy visiting a popular volcanic crater, Solfatara, just outside of Naples, Italy, died when he fell through crumbling quicksand into the boiling mud after crossing into a restricted area. The mother and father, in an attempt to save their son, also fell into the mud and died. Authorities are not sure if the family died of the sulfurous fumes or from the boiling mud, but signs posted in multiple languages warn visitors of the dangers lurking in the volcanic pit. 
  4. The Department of Transportation released new guidelines for automated driving systems on Tuesday. The new guidelines are not mandatory, and companies are encouraged, but not required, to participate in the guidelines, including a 12 point safety assessment. According to reports, vehicles are being tested in many states, but not one manufacturer has submitted to the voluntary safety assessment.
  5. Police have identified the shooter and eight victims, from Sunday's mass shooting in Plano, Texas. The shooter, who has been identified as Spencer Hight, was shot and killed by a police officer when he arrived on the scene Sunday night. The shooter was the estranged husband of Meredith Hight, one of the eight killed.
  6. Hurricane Jose is still churning in the Atlantic and forecasts have shown the storm meandering around in a circle before possibly striking somewhere on the eastern coast of the United States. Recently updated tracks for the storm now suggest the storm may complete its loop, which it has already started, before moving out to sea--and away from the East Coast. Jose is currently a Category 1 storm with sustained winds of 75 mph, and is forecast to weaken into a tropical storm by this weekend, however weather officials have low confidence in that forecast. 
  7. Double bomb threats prompted the evacuation and subsequent temporary closure of the Santa Monica Pier in California, along with the beach and surrounding businesses, while police investigated. The Santa Monica Police Department received two separate bomb threat calls, one originating in Hawthorne at about 12:30, and the other from Culver City. Investigators used a bomb robot to search the parking lot while encouraging people to avoid the area until it was deemed safe. The Pier was later reopened after a suspect vehicle was deemed safe.
  8. Dashcam video recently released shows a St. Louis County police officer being attacked during a traffic stop involving a suspected DUI driver. Officer Alex Bowes, a two-year veteran of the force, stopped the driver and when he could not produce a license, asked the driver to exit the vehicle. When the driver, Markarios Kirkwood, exited the vehicle, he had a knife in his hand, and shortly after attacked the officer, who was eventually able to subdue the suspect without using deadly force.

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.