Emergency and disaster management briefing for January 22, 2018: Suspected IEDs exploded at a Florida mall on Sunday, a malfunction triggered warning sirens to sound at the Harris Nuclear Plant on Friday, a swarm of earthquakes shakes Reno, Nevada, the 101 Freeway has re-opened in Santa Barbara following the deadly mudslides, the Border Patrol is testing personal drones to increase access and visibility, a motorcycle bomb explodes in an open market in Thailand, authorities in the Philippines raise the alert level to 4 following a violent explosion of the Mayon Volcano, and a train entering a station in Australia fails to stop and crashes into the end-of-the-line barrier.
- An explosion inside a Florida mall in Lake Wales on Sunday was caused by two improvised explosive devices. The Lake Wales Fire Department responded to what they thought was a possible structure fire and discovered an IED that had ignited or detonated inside a service corridor near J.C. Penney. The incident occurred around 5:30 p.m., and forced the evacuation of the Eagle Ridge Mall, although there were no reported injuries.
- A malfunction caused the public warning sirens at the Harris Nuclear Plant in North Carolina to sound for about three minutes on Friday, causing concern for area residents. The incident occurred around 1:00 p.m. with the nearby towns of Apex and Cary hearing the sirens. Duke Energy, who owns and operates the plant, alerted residents about the false alarm via Twitter and also issued a press release apologizing for the malfunction and noting that a full investigation would be conducted into the incident.
- Residents of Reno, Nevada may or may not have felt the 250 small earthquakes that have been occurring over the last week in the area. So far, the largest of the small temblors that have struck the area occurred last Tuesday and registered a 2.7 magnitude with majority of the quakes at about 4 miles deep and in a tightly concentrated location. Scientists noted that earthquake swarms can be early warning signs of an impending stronger quake, so they are carefully monitoring the area to see if the swarm dies off or produces something larger.
- Nearly two weeks after the deadly mudslides impacted Santa Barbara County, California, and blocked a major highway, the roadway was reopened to traffic around noon on Sunday. Crews worked nonstop to remove muck and debris from the roadway, clear drainage areas, stabilize embankments, and repair guardrails in order to re-open the highway. Officials also stated that on Saturday, the body of one of three people who were still missing after the mudslides, was found.
- In order to assist its agents in the field, the Border Patrol is testing a fleet of personal drones, which could provide sight where no visibility from the ground exists. Much of the border is unsecured, with just underground seismic sensors that detect when someone or something crosses the border. Many of those locations are difficult for agents to access and check, so a drone can quickly access the area and provide detailed--and possibly life-saving--information to an agent, including if it was an animal or person that tripped the sensor, how many people, and if they are armed.
- A motorcycle bomb that exploded at a market in the south of Thailand killed three people and injured at least 22 others on Monday. The bomb was placed next to a stall that housed a vendor selling pork, a meat strictly prohibited under Islamic Laws for Muslims. No group claimed responsibility for the attack and authorities were unclear if the bomb was meant to target Thai Buddhists.
- The Mayon Volcano in the Philippines had been spewing ash and sending lava spilling down its side for at least a week when it exploded violently on Monday. The short explosion ejected a plume of volcanic fragments, ash, and steam into the sky. This recent display of activity has prompted authorities to raise the alert level to four, meaning an explosive eruption is possible within days, and expanded the danger zone around the volcano to 5 miles. At least 40,000 nearby residents have been evacuated and authorities have closed schools and urged people to stay indoors whenever possible.
- A train struck a barrier at the Richmond Station, northwest of Sydney, Australia, on Monday, injuring at least 15 people. The train is operated by New South Wales (NSW), and reportedly was applying the brakes when it hit the barrier at the end of the line, sending people tumbling inside the train. At least 10 ambulances were dispatched to the scene, and medical crews were working to transport the injured to local area hospitals.
UPDATE: Police seeking man seen running after two improvised explosive devices detonated and a third suspicious package was found at mall near Tampa, Florida https://t.co/MffctwZQTj
— NBC News (@NBCNews) January 22, 2018
Emergency management directors for North Carolina, Wake, Harnett, Lee & Chatham Counties were notified that the fixed siren alert system within 10-miles of @DukeEnergy Harris Plant accidentally activated at 12:58 p.m.
There is NO emergency at the Harris Nuclear Plant.
— NC Emergency Managem (@NCEmergency) January 19, 2018
— Cal State Northridge (@csunorthridge) January 17, 2018
California officials reopened Highway 101 on Sunday nearly two weeks after mudslides killed at least 21 people and destroyed nearly 130 homes in Montecito https://t.co/PMrhpVVbxI pic.twitter.com/jwlnS7u97A
— CBS News (@CBSNews) January 21, 2018
New uses of diffused #technologies as #Drones could enhance, in a significant way, #Rescue techniques in different environments. Standard Operating Procedures in #emergency management and #SAR fields are evolving fastly... https://t.co/roHwUTvZPb
— EmergencyPsy (@emergenzapsy) January 19, 2018
— euronews (@euronews) January 22, 2018
— USGS Volcanoes🌋 (@USGSVolcanoes) January 19, 2018
— Gus (@IHAB1204x4) January 22, 2018