Home Emergency Management News EDM Wednesday Briefing: President Trump Declares Disaster For California Wildfires

EDM Wednesday Briefing: President Trump Declares Disaster For California Wildfires


Emergency and disaster management briefing for November 14, 2018: President Trump approved an expedited disaster declaration in the wake of California's deadly wildfires, the Medina Hospital active shooter situation is being called a hoax by law enforcement, a unified command is in place to fight the deadly Camp Fire burning in Northern California, the FAA has issued an emergency AD following the Lion Air crash of a Boeing 737 MAX, fire officials state that the Woolsey Fire has caused the widespread destruction of several cities' infrastructure, air quality ratings of very poor and severe are negatively impacting the children of New Delhi, France marks the third anniversary of the deadly coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris that killed 130 people in 2015, and a new wildfire that erupted in San Bernardino County, California on Tuesday night threatens Fontana and Rialto.

  1. President Trump has approved an expedited request for the declaration of a federal disaster for California following the outbreak of the deadly fires that began last Thursday and swept through areas in northern and southern locations of the state. A disaster declaration expedites the release of federal assistance--including hazard mitigation--and funding to assist with firefighting efforts and a variety of community support services. The cause of the fires is still under investigation, and local utility companies deny their equipment sparked at least one of the fires, even though they reported faulty equipment shortly before one of the fires erupted.  
  2. An active shooter call that sent at least 150 law enforcement personnel to the Medina Hospital, in Medina County near Cleveland, Ohio, has been deemed a hoax. Police officials state that around 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, a call went into the Medina police's communication center stating that a woman with a gun had several hostages in a medical building next to the hospital. A 'code silver' was called at the hospital, which initiated its lockdown procedures that remained in place until police gave the 'all-clear' at around 3:30 p.m.--after a thorough, room-by-room search was conducted. 
  3. A unified command with more than 5,600 personnel is in place to fight the Camp Fire burning in Northern California, which has already consumed 130,000 acres, is only 35 percent contained, and so far, has caused the deaths of 48 people. Forensic teams, along with cadaver dogs, are combing the ashes throughout Paradise in search of any human remains. Three firefighters were also injured in the Camp Fire, which has incinerated 7,600 homes, destroyed 1,214 structures, and damaged 107 other residences and structures.   
  4. New information released regarding the Lion Air JT610 crash in Indonesia centers around training for pilots when encountering faulty readings from angle of attack sensors--which are meant to keep the aircraft flying at the correct angle to prevent an aerodynamic stall. An emergency Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2018-23-51 for all Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, was issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for inclusion in flight manuals that provides pilots instructions on how to handle the faulty sensor readings and what steps to take to prevent the aircraft from entering into a dangerous nosedive. The search for the cockpit voice recorder from Flight JT610 continues, as pilots on a previous flight with the same airplane reportedly were able to overcome a similar sensor problem.  
  5. Officials have lifted many of the evacuation orders for the Woolsey Fire burning in Southern California, which, so far, has destroyed at least 435 structures--a number fire officials state is likely to rise. The fire rapidly moved through Los Angeles and Ventura counties, scorching 97,280 acres (152 square miles) and forcing the evacuation of nearly 200,000 people--but is now 40 percent contained. Fire officials noted that deep infrastructure has been destroyed by the fire, including power lines, lights, roads, sewers, and water lines, which could take weeks to restore.  
  6. As the winter months approach, air quality levels have ranged from very poor to severe in New Delhi, India, as toxic smog--spewed from the many industrial factories--hovers over the city--at least until air quality improves in January. Earlier this year, the World Health Organization designated Delhi as one of the top places with the worst air quality due to pollution, and children are among those most affected by the poor air quality. A reported 10 percent or more of children suffer from asthma, and thousands of children are regularly being diagnosed with respiratory illnesses in the city and its surrounding suburbs each year--a number that, according to doctors, has doubled in recent years.  
  7. On Tuesday, government officials in France marked the third anniversary of the most deadly attacks to occur in the nation since World War II--the Islamic State attacks that killed 130 people across Paris in November of 2015. The attacks began with suicide bombings and then involved coordinated mass shootings and suicide blasts in several locations, including the Bataclan theater, where a gunman opened fire at a rock concert and killed 90 people. A total of 400 other people were injured, many of them seriously, and a total of seven of the attackers, several who fought in Syria, were also killed.  
  8. A new wildfire erupted Tuesday night about 50 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, in San Bernardino County. The Sierra Fire, which began as a brush fire around 9:30 p.m. near Interstate 15, has already consumed 147 acres and is threatening Fontana and Rialto, as the Santa Ana winds continue to spur its growth--although no evacuations have yet been ordered. The fire is approximately 90 miles west of the Woolsey Fire and the Hill Fire--fires that have already strained first-responder resources in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. 

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.