Home Emergency Management News EDM Wednesday Briefing: Operation Gotham Shield, United Airlines Emergency

EDM Wednesday Briefing: Operation Gotham Shield, United Airlines Emergency

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for April 26, 2017: Operation Gotham Shield training exercise simulates a nuclear bomb detonation, Idaho receives federal assistance after President Trump signs disaster declaration, UC Berkley preps officials and police for possible protests and violence during Coulter speech, a United Airlines plane makes emergency landing after reported engine overheating, electric generating power plants reduce the carbon footprint of the U.S. by 5 percent for second consecutive year, Texas health officials warn residents that the Zika virus is still a present threat, penguins in Antarctica are declining in numbers, and brackish groundwater reserves may soon help alleviate pressure on freshwater reserves.

  1. On Monday in northern New Jersey, local, state, and federal emergency management agencies teamed up to participate in a simulated response training exercise named Operation Gotham Shield that continues through Thursday. The training exercise revolves around a nuclear bomb detonation with multiple, cascading secondary impacts and tests the capabilities and coordination of the agencies involved in the exercise. Other participating states include Connecticut, New York, and Pennsylvania, and Washington, DC.
  2. President Trump has signed a Presidential Disaster Declaration for 11 counties in southern Idaho impacted by severe flooding and winter storms that occurred from February 5, to March 3. Damage assessments in the counties impacted exceeded $30 million and the declaration will free up federal funds to help the counties repair badly damaged or destroyed infrastructure, including roofs, roads, and bridges. Much of Idaho is still at risk of severe flooding from snow melt that is still occurring.
  3. Amid rising free speech tensions at the University of California at Berkley, officials are preparing for potential protests and possible violence during an open air speech to be given by Ann Coulter. Coulter is set to make a speech at the University sometime on Thursday evening, a speech which may now occur in the Sproul Plaza, a symbolic outdoor area that would be difficult to protect logistically. Clashes that occurred during protests in February caused many injuries and hundreds of thousands of dollars in property damages from fires and other violence.
  4. A reported engine malfunction on a United Airlines flight bound for Houston on Monday caused the flight to make an emergency landing back at its originating airport in Costa Rica. Flight 1516 experienced an engine that allegedly overheated while over the ocean and bound for Houston. The pilots circled the aircraft over the ocean for approximately one hour to burn fuel before returning to the Libreria, Costa Rica airport, where all air traffic was halted and they made and emergency landing with fire trucks, ambulances, and emergency vehicles standing by
  5. The U. S. Department of Energy announced that for the second consecutive year, electric power plants have reduced carbon emissions by about 5 percent per year, the first time such a reduction has been recorded over the last 40 years. Climate pollution resulting from the generation of electricity has been the single highest source of carbon emissions until 2016. Now the transportation sector, including cars, trucks, and airplanes, accounts for the highest level of carbon emissions in the country.
  6. Health officials in Texas say Zika is still a threat across the state this mosquito season.  Texas health officials warn that due to the warmer winter, mosquito die-off was not wide spread, and cases of Zika were still being documented along the state's southern border. Zika is a mosquito-born illness that has been linked to birth defects in pregnant women exposed to the virus. 
  7. A new report suggests that two of Antarctica's penguins are in trouble, likely due to climate change impacts. A five degree temperature increase has negatively impacted the Adélie and chinstrap penguins, once in abundance on the continent. Researchers also believe that the loss of sea ice, which is necessary for penguins to hunt from, played a large role in the decline of these two penguin species.
  8. Underground reserves of brackish water may soon help relieve freshwater woes across the nation according to a recent report by the U. S. Geological Survery (USGS). The study by the USGS offers an in-depth analysis of the use of brackish groundwater as an “unconventional water source” that could relieve pressure on underground freshwater aquifers that are rapidly being depleted, especially as demands for water are increasing.

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.