Home Emergency Management News EDM Friday Briefing: Wildfires, EgyptAir Flight 804, TSA, Twitter

EDM Friday Briefing: Wildfires, EgyptAir Flight 804, TSA, Twitter


Emergency and disaster management briefing for June 10, 2016: A wildfire in Arizona forces hundreds to evacuate, another wildfire in Oregon puts at least 1,200 homes at risk, a second specialist ship is set to join the search for EgyptAir Flight 804's black boxes, the GAO scrutinizes the TSA's security practices, and Twitter may not have been hacked after all.

    1. A 600-acre fire continued to burn yesterday in Yarnell, AZ about 60 miles northwest of Phoenix. The fire forced the evacuation of at least 250 people, already detroyed three unoccupied buildings, and is burning in the same town where a 2013 fire resulted in the deaths of 19 members of an elite firefighting crew. The cause of this fire is still being investigated; no homes have burned as of last night. Late yesterday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) authorized federal funds to help fight the fire.
    1. A a wildfire in central Oregon was approximately 30 percent contained as of last night. The fire began Tuesday -- it was caused by a lightning strike -- and has been spread by strong winds in the region the past few days. The fire grew to more than 2,100 acres yesterday and is threatening at least 1,200 homes.
    2. A second specialist ship will join the search for EgyptAir Flight 804's black boxes today. A French naval supply vessel first picked up a signal on June 1, and now Egypt just chartered a second vessel that comes equipped with a suitable sonar and an underwater vehicle to aid the search.
    1. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a report about the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and its screening practices at airports nationwide, which noted both positives and negatives with current procedures. While the TSA has taken steps to improve security effectiveness, the GAO said, more screener oversight needed to ensure that security is at the highest level.
    2. News reports of Twitter being hacked and 32 million accounts being compromised may, in fact, be unfounded, as Twitter representatives wholeheartedly deny the claims. In response to the rumors, a Twitter spokesperson denied that its systems had been hacked and instead speculated that the accounts were probably acquired by malware that copied passwords and usernames entered while browsing the Web. Twitter did lock some accounts, but, at this point, remains steadfast that no hacking occurred.
    1. This week's Cascadia Rising EDM training event, which ends today, took place in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) and included officials from states and regions that would be directly impacted by a PNW megaquake and resulting tsunami, like Oregon and Washington. The exercise also included officials from Idaho -- but why? While Idaho probably wouldn’t feel the earthquake and definitely wouldn’t be hit by the tsunamis, the state would have a big support role in that disaster.
    1. Texas Governor Greg Abbott added 15 counties to the state disaster declaration that came due to severe flooding in the state. Abbot's original declaration occurred on June 1 and included 31 counties, so 46 total counties are now covered by the proclamation. Abbott also sought federal aid for 12 counties yesterday in association with the flooding.
    1. The World Health Organization (WHO) is now urging women who live in regions where Zika virus infection is already prevalent to consider delaying pregnancy, as there is currently no known way to combat the devastating birth defects that often coincide with acquiring the virus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are now 691 confirmed cases in the U.S. and another 1,305 in U.S. territories. CDC Director Tom Frieden made another plea for Congress yesterday to provide funding to battle the virus as soon as possible.
    1. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned this week of a bizarre twist in the nation's drug abuse problem -- people overdosing on common anti-diarrhea drugs. The primary ingredient in over-the-counter drugs is intended to control diarrhea, can apparently bring about heroin-like highs when abusers take massive doses. People are reportedly taking up to 300 milligrams at once, which is approximately 20 to 40 times the recommended dose range of between 8 milligrams and 16 milligrams per day.
    2. Robert Glasser, the special U.N. representative on reducing disaster risk, spoke to news agency EFE this week about the disaster risk and economics. According to Glasser, poverty and vulnerability to natural disasters are very clearly linked in the Americas. Not only do poor citizens in the Americas have fewer opportunities to recover from the aftermath of natural disasters, Glasser noted, they also have fewer options for preparing for them.

Matt Mills Matt Mills has been involved in various aspects of online media, both on the editorial side and on the technology side, for more than 16 years. He holds a Master's Degree in Journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, and is currently involved in multiple projects focused on innovation journalism.