Home Emergency Management News EDM Friday Briefing: President Trump to Visit Tornado Ravaged Lee County in Alabama
EDM Friday Briefing: President Trump to Visit Tornado Ravaged Lee County in Alabama

EDM Friday Briefing: President Trump to Visit Tornado Ravaged Lee County in Alabama

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for March 8, 2019: A major east-west highway has reopened following its closure by an avalanche; no injuries were reported after an explosion rocked the Calumet Refinery in Montana; President Trump is set to visit tornado ravaged Lee County in Alabama as clean-up and recovery continues; findings from a recent study suggest that coal ash contaminates groundwater; a recall has been issued for a drinking water additive that was sold online; additional obstacles threaten the decommissioning of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant in Japan; a Class 1 recall has been issued for the LIFEPAK 15 monitor/defibrillator; and a sheriff's deputy that was part of a task force in Illinois was shot and killed while attempting to serve an arrest warrant.

  1. A major highway in Colorado has reopened following an avalanche that inundated the road with up to six feet of snow early Thursday morning. The avalanche occurred on Interstate 70 between Vail and the Copper Mountain Ski Resort, near Vail Pass, while another avalanche nearby ruptured a gas line. Officials noted that conditions this year are the most dangerous they have been for years, likely due to the combination of heavy March snows and strong winds
  2. An explosion at a refinery plant in Great Falls, Montana on Thursday, spawned two fires that took firefighters several hours to contain. The explosion occurred at the Calumet Refinery, and prompted evacuations within a half mile and a shelter in place for local schools. Plant officials stated that no one was injured in the blast, which was reportedly isolated to a small section of the plant.  
  3. Officials in Alabama stated that all missing persons have been accounted for after a deadly tornado ripped through the small community of Beauregard near the Georgia border. The EF4 tornado, with winds of 170 mph, tore through the small town last Sunday, destroyed about 100 homes, injured dozens, and killed 23 people, including four children and seven people from one family. The deadly tornado caused widespread damage and littered the area with debris from destroyed homes and buildings, uprooted trees, downed power lines, and a destroyed a cell phone tower. President Trump is scheduled to visit the storm ravaged area on Friday.   
  4. Findings from a recent study indicated that coal ash contaminates groundwater near coal-fired power plants. The study, completed by Environmental Integrity Project and Earthjustice, indicated that more than 90 percent of coal-fired power plants that are required to monitor groundwater near coal ash dumps, revealed unsafe levels of toxic metals in groundwater by monitoring standards set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Some locations, up to 52 percent, also had unsafe levels of arsenic in the groundwater, while another 60 percent  of reporting power companies showed unsafe lithium levels--which can cause neurological damage.  
  5. A drinking water additive has been recalled due to its potential contamination with a deadly bacteria. The Food and Drug Administration found that Life-Line Water, an additive, was contaminated with the Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria--which can be life-threatening to hospital patients or those with weakened immune systems. The product, voluntarily recalled by McDaniel Life-Line, LLC, was sold online, and it is being recommended that anyone who purchased the product immediately stop using it and throw it away.   
  6. Additional obstacles threaten the decommissioning of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant ravaged by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), said that efforts to purify highly contaminated water failed to remove dangerous radioactive contaminates, forcing the company to try to store 1 million tons of water on site. Reprocessing of the water could take an additional two years, and the planned release of the cleaned water into the ocean is angering area fisherman who have struggled to win public confidence over the last eight years.  
  7. A Class 1 recall has been issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for 8,164 LIFEPAK 15 monitor/defibrillator's due to the risk of the device locking up or freezing. The product being recalled was manufactured March 21, 2013 and July 18, 2016, and a full list of devices affected can be located here. Those that may be affected by the recall include hospitals, health care professionals, and first responders, and the recall indicates that the locking up of the device could and has led to serious patient injury including death.  
  8. A deputy in Illinois who was part of a U.S. Marshall Task Force, was shot and killed during an attempt to serve an arrest warrant on Thursday. The McHenry County Sheriff's deputy, Jacob Keltner, was allegedly shot by the suspect, Floyd Brown, 39, who opened fire on the officers as they approached the hotel where he was staying. According to preliminary reports, no shots were fired by any law enforcement officers during the incident, and the suspect, who fled the scene, was later apprehended after a brief standoff with law enforcement.

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.