Home Emergency Management News EDM Wednesday Briefing: Presidential Alert Test; Deadly Ricin Suspected in Pentagon Mail
EDM Wednesday Briefing: Presidential Alert Test; Deadly Ricin Suspected in Pentagon Mail

EDM Wednesday Briefing: Presidential Alert Test; Deadly Ricin Suspected in Pentagon Mail

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for October 3, 2018: The nation’s first wireless Presidential Alert to be tested by FEMA on Wednesday, nursing home residents in Pennsylvania were evacuated after a tornado rips the roof off one building, the death toll from the deadly earthquake and tsunami in Palu, Indonesia has climbed to over 1,400, Mount Soputan erupts on the Sulawesi island that was recently devastated by an earthquake and tsunami, the Pentagon announces it has received mail suspected to contain the deadly poison ricin, searchers find the body of the Ohio woman who went missing while hiking with her daughter, a two-year-old boy is among the three remains identified from the car explosion in Pennsylvania on Saturday, and Hurricane Leslie has formed far out in the Atlantic Ocean.

  1. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will be conducting a nationwide wireless emergency alert test Wednesday afternoon as its first ‘presidential alert.’ The National Wireless Emergency Alert System is the first of its kind for FEMA, and the alert will have a sound similar to that of an Amber Alert or tornado warning.  The White House will use the system to issue an alert only if the public is in peril, or during a national emergency, such as with 9/11–it is not for personal messages from the president.  
  2. An EF-2 tornado that touched down in northwestern Pennsylvania on Tuesday afternoon, damaged a nursing home and forced the evacuation of its residents. The tornado blew the roof off one building of the Rolling Fields Elder Care Community, causing moderate to heavy damage, but there were no tornado-related injuries to any of the residents. The American Red Cross opened a shelter at the nearby Conneaut Valley Middle School, and nursing home staff and administrators are working to find housing for the displaced residents
  3. Indonesian officials announced that the death toll from the major earthquake and tsunami that impacted Indonesia’s Sulawesi island last Friday, has now climbed to 1,407, with at least another 2,500 injured. In some of the hardest hit areas outside Palu, survivors are struggling to find food, water, fuel, and medicine, but more substantial aid began arriving on Wednesday. Indonesia's president has also requested international assistance, including a request to the United Nations to send social workers to support children who are alone or were separated from their parents due to the double disaster. 
  4. On an island already devastated by an earthquake and tsunami, a volcano erupted in North Sulawesi province–about 585 miles northeast of the quake zone–on Wednesday morning, spewing ash over 20,000 feet in the air. Geologists indicate that it is possible the earthquake hastened the eruption of Mount Soputan, which had shown increasing activity since August. No evacuations were ordered, but authorities warned airplanes to avoid the ash-laden air.  
  5. Mail suspected to contain the deadly poison ricin, was received at the Pentagon on Tuesday, including one envelope allegedly addressed to U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and another to Admiral John Richardson, the Navy’s top officer. The Pentagon stated that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is analyzing the envelopes and the mail facility has been placed under quarantine. In a separate incident, the U.S. Secret Service reportedly is investigating a ‘suspicious envelope’ it received on Monday that was addressed to President Donald Trump.  
  6. Park officials announced Tuesday that the body of the missing woman from Ohio hiking in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park was found. Over 100 volunteers and 45 organizations assisted in the search, and scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratories used technology to stitch together aerial pictures of terrain to assist rescuers in understanding the treacherous terrain where they were searching. The woman, Mitzi Sue Clements, 53, was last seen on September 25 while hiking with her daughter on a trail near Clingmans Dome. 
  7. A father and his 2-year-old son were two of the victims in the car explosion that killed a total of three people in Allentown, Pennsylvania on Saturday night. Authorities believe that the perpetrator of the blast also died in the explosion, and that it is an isolated incident, and that there is no continuing threat to the community. Investigators, some wearing hazmat suits, continued to comb the wreckage to piece together information from the blast, but
  8. Hurricane Leslie has formed far out in the Atlantic Ocean, and is situated about 510 miles east-southeast of Bermuda. The Category 1 storm has sustained wind speeds of up to 80 mph, and is currently almost stationary, with some additional strengthening over the next 24-48 hours. Leslie is not expected to be a threat to land, so no watches or warnings have been issued, however, large swells are expected to continue to impact portions of the southeastern U.S., Bermuda, and the Bahamas for the next few days. 

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.