Home Emergency Management News EDM Friday Briefing: Texas Church Damaged by Explosive Device
EDM Friday Briefing: Texas Church Damaged by Explosive Device

EDM Friday Briefing: Texas Church Damaged by Explosive Device

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for May 11, 2018: A package left outside the door of a Texas church explodes, the delivery of emergency medical supplies and drugs with drones is being tested in Reno, Nevada, scientists warn that the continued draining of lava from the summit could lead to an explosive eruption of the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii, eight homes were evacuated as more than a dozen sinkholes occur in Ocala, Florida, the Chula Vista fire department is contemplating scaling back responses on low-priority 911 calls, Puerto Rico is beefing up its preparedness efforts ahead of the 2018 hurricane season, a dam failure caused by ongoing heavy rains in Kenya kills at least 40 people, a child at a daycare center in Massachusetts has been diagnosed with typhoid fever.

  1. A southeast Texas church was damaged when a package that was left outside the front door of the church exploded. The blast occurred overnight Wednesday to Thursday and broke windows and caused other damage to the St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Beaumont, Texas. This is the second package that has contained an explosive device that has been left outside a building in Beaumont in the last two weeks. 
  2. A new national test program for the use of drones was announced Wednesday by the U. S. Department of Transportation and will focus on 10 sites, including one region that will be testing a drone’s ability to deliver emergency medical supplies. Flirtey, a Reno based drone operator, will be part of a team that conducts the test in northern Nevada that will focus on medical equipment and life saving drugs, such as defibrillators and EpiPens. Members of the Reno coalition believe that drones are game-changers when it comes to emergencies, citing the delivery of emergency medical supplies as having the ability to save one million lives over the coming decades.  
  3. As lava continues to drain from the Kilauea summit in Hawaii, scientists have warned that the volcano could possibly experience explosive eruptions in the coming days or weeks. The explosive eruptions could launch rocks the size of refrigerators miles into the air and according to the state’s governor, mass evacuations may be needed. Residents were also warned on Thursday about rising levels of toxic gas due to decreasing trade winds–an event that could push more sulfur dioxide gas to the southeast section of the Big Island.  
  4. Multiple sinkholes have opened up near a retention pond in a Florida community over the last two weeks. More than a dozen sinkholes have opened in the Winchase Townhome community in Ocala, and have drained a retention pond, pulled the water from another nearby pond, and caused the evacuation of eight homes. Emergency management officials are using underground radar and drilling machines to gain soil samples nearly 100 feet below, and have said that the holes cannot be fixed until testing is completed
  5. In California, an understaffed Chula Vista fire department is looking at not sending firefighters and paramedics to low-priority, level three 911 calls. Recently analyzed data revealed that in 1,800 level three calls, only 0.12 percent of those resulted in the highest level of a medical emergency. The move would free the department’s limited number of first responders for higher-priority calls, potentially saving more lives.  
  6.  As the 2018 hurricane season approaches, Puerto Rico is increasing its level of preparedness through rigorous training, and has warned the island’s 3.3 million people that they need to have enough supplies to last at least 10 days. According to emergency management officials, police stations, hospitals, emergency management centers, and fire stations have also received 100 watt radios and had satellite antennae's installed to ensure continued communication during a hurricane. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has also increased its storage of water supplies to 10 million liters, an increase from the 800,000 liters it had stored prior to Hurricane Maria. 
  7. A dam failure in Kenya has killed at least 44 people, many of them children, after a wall of water about five foot high and over 1,600 feet wide swept through the town of Solai, destroying everything in its path. The wall of water destroyed a primary school and swept away power lines after a private dam that was used for irrigation and fish farming, collapsed following heavy rains that inundated the area. According to the county governor, 40 people remain missing, and as the rains continue to fall, engineers released water in at least one dam to prevent another collapse. 
  8. A day care center in Quincy, Massachusetts was closed Wednesday after a child was diagnosed with typhoid fever. State health officials are now conducting tests on all staff members and children from the Bright Horizons daycare to help prevent the spread of the highly contagious food and waterborne disease. The child recently traveled abroad, so daycare officials do not believe the disease was contracted at the facility, but as a precaution, a thorough cleaning of the daycare was conducted to prevent the spread of the disease.  

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.

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