Home Emergency Management News EDM Friday Briefing: San Diego Fire-Rescue Adds Night-Flying-Capable Firefighting Helicopter
EDM Friday Briefing: San Diego Fire-Rescue Adds Night-Flying-Capable Firefighting Helicopter

EDM Friday Briefing: San Diego Fire-Rescue Adds Night-Flying-Capable Firefighting Helicopter


Emergency and disaster management briefing for December 13, 2019: Six bodies have been removed from White Island in New Zealand as the search for the remaining two missing victims continues; PG&E is working to install wildfire monitoring technology to assist in combating wildfires; a new night-flying-capable, firefighting helicopter has been added to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department; crews finished draining all the fuel from the overturned cargo ship off the Georgia coast in the St. Simons Sound; the USDA has issued a primary natural disaster declaration for four parishes in Louisiana; an elementary school was closed Friday after at least 100 staff and students were sickened by a norovirus; a FEMA Disaster Recovery Center is now open in Mitchell, South Dakota to assist residents impacted by severe storms and flooding in September; and police in Houston have arrested the fugitive suspect that struck and killed a Nassau Bay police officer on Tuesday.

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1) Elite Defense Force soldiers in New Zealand recovered six of the eight bodies missing on White Island after they were killed by a volcanic eruption. The search continues for the remaining two bodies on the island, including divers who are searching for one body that might be in the water. The dangerous recovery operation has, so far, gone according to plan, even though experts believe that, due to current activity, a another volcanic eruption could occur at any time.

2) Amid bankruptcy, and after reaching a $13.5 billion settlement for wildfires, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) is spending thousands to install new wildfire monitoring technology. The company has already added more than 600 weather stations and 130 high-definition cameras in high-risk areas to monitor wildfires, with plans to add a total of 1,300 cameras and 600 cameras by 2022. The goal is to ensure company meteorologists have the best tools to monitor weather conditions--in real-time--to assist them with decisions regarding Public Safety Power Shutoffs.

3) San Diego's Fire-Rescue Department added a major new firefighting tool to help combat wildfires before they rage out of control--a brand new helicopter. The new chopper, which cost nearly $20 million and has been dubbed Copter 3, is a Sikorsky S-70i Firehawk that can fly at night and is able to drop 1,000 gallons of water in a single load. The helicopter is operated by a crew of three, and other features include its ability to carry 12 additional people, a retractable snorkel for refilling in about one minute, a high intensity search light and an external hoist for search and rescue missions, and a cargo hook that can carry 9,000 pounds.

4) Crews have finished draining 320,000 gallons of fuel from the overturned cargo ship off the coast of Brunswick, Georgia. The ship, which overturned shortly after leaving the Port of Brunswick on September 8, remains beached about 70 miles south of Savannah. The removal of all the fuel will now permit the Unified Command to safely remove the wreckage in what officials say will be a challenging and highly complex operation.

5) Four parishes in Louisiana have been declared primary natural disaster areas according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The declaration allows the Farm Service Agency (FSA) to extend much-needed help in the wake of Hurricane Barry--which impacted producers in Avoyelles, Evangeline, Rapides, and St. Landry parishes from July 12, to August 16. The deadline for emergency loan applications is June 18, 2020, and contiguous parishes are also eligible to apply for assistance.

6) The Leschi Elementary School in Seattle, Washington was closed on Friday after more than 100 students and staff reported being sick on Thursday by a norovirus. The school will be cleaned on Friday during the closure, and no staff or students will be allowed in the building. The elementary school was reportedly the only school in the district impacted by the virus.

7) A Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) opened in Mitchell, South Dakota on Thursday to assist those applying for federal aid under a recent disaster declaration approved by President Trump. Eleven counties and two Indian Reservations were included in the disaster declaration resulting from severe storms and flooding that took place in September. Hazard mitigation specialists from FEMA are also available to provide advice on rebuilding to avoid future disaster damage.

8) A fugitive who fled a traffic stop and struck and killed a Nassau Bay, Texas, police officer on Tuesday, has been caught. Tavores Henderson, 21, was arrested without incident at a home in Houston on Thursday. During a traffic stop, officers discovered there was an outstanding domestic violence warrant against the driver--Henderson--and were handcuffing him when he broke free and fled in the vehicle, striking Kaili Sullivan, a Nassau Bay Police Sargent, who later died at the hospital from her injuries.


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.