Emergency and disaster management briefing for April 21, 2017: Paris terror attack targeted police, the Tennessee teenager of a nationwide Amber Alert is found safe, two law enforcement officials were shot in South Carolina while responding to a call, Boise River flows set to increase as officials fear heavy flooding, a new California bill would require yearly dam and reservoir inspections, Colorado Springs residents urged to stay prepared for flash floods in wake of Waldo Canyon Fire damages, Utah hosts its 8th annual Great ShakeOut drill.
- On Thursday in Paris, a gunman opened fire on police stationed along its famed Champs Élyéeses, killing one police officer and seriously wounding two others before being killed by officers after attempting to escape on foot. The terrorist has been identified as Karim Cheurfi, a 39-year-old Frenchman from an eastern Paris suburb. Responsibility for the attack was quickly claimed by the Islamic State (IS) and during an investigation of Cheurfi's vehicle, police allegedly found a Koran and a note praising IS.
- The search for suspected kidnapper Tad Cummins and Amber Alert teen, Elizabeth Thomas has ended in a remote Northern California county. A local tip by a caller stating they had seen the alleged kidnapper's vehicle alerted officials to their presence and Cummins was later arrested by authorities in Siskiyou County and Thomas was found safe and rescued. The two had been missing since March 13, and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation issued a nationwide Amber Alert to help find Thomas, the missing teenager who had been allegedly kidnapped by a former teacher.
- One Jasper County sheriff's deputy and one Hardeeville police officer responding to reports of a domestic abuse incident at a home in Hardeeville, South Carolina, were wounded when a man came out of the house firing his gun. The officers were struck in the shoulder, hand, and armpit and were sent to a Savannah, Georgia hospital for treatment where they are both listed in critical, but stable condition. The suspect who shot at the responding police officers was fatally wounded when the officers returned fire.
- Boise River flows are set to increase today following a decision by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation that they will be releasing more water from the Lucky Peak Dam, leading to the river's highest flows since 1983. Officials are concerned about the snowpack that will turn into more than 2 million acre-feet of water and enter the Boise River reservoirs by July 1. Officials indicate that due to current reservoir levels being so high, there is a capacity shortage of about 640,000 acre-feet to accommodate the snow melt and rains and are urging residents to be prepared with flood insurance and be ready to evacuate should a flood warning be issued.
- A new bill is being proposed in the California State Legislature to require inspections of state-maintained dams and reservoirs on a yearly basis. In addition to requiring the Department of Water Resources (DWR) to conduct yearly inspections, the bill would make it mandatory each year for the agency to provide a five-year infrastructure improvement, maintenance, and funding plan. Currently, California has no inspection requirements for its state owned dams and reservoirs which are just a portion of the more than 1,400 dams and reservoirs operating within its borders.
- Five years after the Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado, officials in the City of Colorado Springs cautioned residents attending a community meeting about the flash flood threat that still exists as a result of the burn scar from the fire. Officials state that recovery in the area will be decades long, and while recovery efforts of stabilizing drainage ways and re-vegetation are progressing at the expected rate, it is still necessary to protect homes and property and to be prepared for floods, mudslides, or to evacuate. In 2012, the Waldo Canyon Fire scorched 18,247 acres and killed two people over more than a two week span and destroyed more than 345 homes.
- The Great Utah ShakeOut drill was held on Thursday, April 20 statewide with more than 992,000 participants across the the state to help it be better prepared. Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) were also a part of the mock magnitude 7.0 earthquake that impacted the state, collapsing the rotunda of the dome in the state's Capitol building, as they searched for victims and survivors amid the "rubble." CERTs are valuable members of an emergency response, and can act as first responders during a natural or human caused disaster. Utah, which rarely sees any natural disasters, uses drills to prepare the state and boasts nearly 70 CERTs across the state, along with a high number of residents - nearly 75 percent - that are prepared with some type of an emergency kit.
MEDIA: We are planning for an afternoon news conference. Details will be announced as soon as possible. pic.twitter.com/Tw7IKNWZ38
— TBI (@TBInvestigation) April 20, 2017
— Lena Howland (@LenaHowland) April 21, 2017