Home Emergency Management News EDM Monday Briefing: CPUC Orders Wireless Carriers to Improve Public Resiliency
EDM Monday Briefing: CPUC Orders Wireless Carriers to Improve Public Resiliency

EDM Monday Briefing: CPUC Orders Wireless Carriers to Improve Public Resiliency

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for July 20, 2020: The FDA adds more hand sanitizers to its list of products whose use should be avoided; evacuations have been lifted and roadways reopened for the Big Summit Fire burning in Utah; three police officers were killed and nine critically injured in Texas during a Thin Blue Line Motorcycle Club ride; evacuation orders remain in place for the Cottonwood Trail Fire in Utah; the NWS issues Excessive Heat Warnings and Heat Advisories for much of the East Coast; an area of forest thinned by firefighters in the Deschutes National Forest is helping to stop a wildfire's spread; the CPUC has ordered wireless providers to improve public resiliency to Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) events; and air tankers dropping water and fire retardant help ground crews with fire containment in Idaho.

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1) New hand sanitizers have once again been added to the do not use list produced by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) due to possible methanol contamination. In total, there are 75 hand sanitizers that are under recall or recommended for recall due to the potentially fatal ingredient that may be in the product. According to the FDA, the products are labeled to contain ethanol (ethyl alcohol) but actually contain methanol. Methanol is a toxic substance; when it is absorbed through the skin or ingested, methanol can cause nausea, vomiting, headache, permanent blindness, seizures and death.

2) According to Utah Fire Info, evacuations have been lifted for the Hamlin Valley in Iron County as a result of the Big Summit Fire. The wildfire, which began in Nevada and burned its way into Utah, has consumed 8,453 acres and is only about 34 percent contained. Roads have also reopened, but fire officials are asking residents to use caution when returning home due to continued firefighter activity in the area and on roadways.

3) Three officers were killed and nine others were critically injured while they were riding their motorcycles as members of the Thin Blue Line Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club. The accident, which occurred on a Texas highway near Kerrville, was allegedly caused by an intoxicated driver who crossed the center line and hit the bikers head-on while they were out on a ride this past Saturday. The driver of the vehicle has been arrested on charges of intoxicated manslaughter and intoxicated assault.

4) The Cottonwood Trail Fire ignited in Washington County, Utah, on Sunday and has prompted evacuations in multiple small communities. The wind-driven wildfire, which was sparked by a blown tire, had consumed at least 3,000 acres by late Sunday evening. The swift-moving blaze also jumped the median near Harrisburg on I-15. It forced the highway's closure in both directions for several hours, creating havoc for drivers and trapping some vehicles as the fire approached.

5) The Northeast is facing hot conditions as the current heat wave moves into the area from the Midwest. Highs are forecast to be in the upper 90s in many locations including Boston, Hartford, New York and Philadelphia, with Baltimore forecast to hit 99 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat indices will move into the triple digits on Monday, which prompted the National Weather Service (NWS) to issue Excessive Heat Warnings and Heat Advisories for much of the East Coast.

6) A wildfire that broke out in the Deschutes National Forest near La Pine, Oregon, on Saturday afternoon is now 30 percent contained. Hot, dry and windy weather helped spur the Rosland Road Fire, which has consumed nearly 400 acres. The blaze reached a portion of the forest that had been thinned by firefighters, thereby reducing available fuels, which assisted firefighters in achieving the fire's containment.

7) Wireless carriers in California have been ordered to improve public resiliency to Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) events to maintain public health and safety during disasters. The Decision, ordered by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), now requires wireless carriers to adopt a 72-hour minimum service coverage requirement during grid outages or disasters, directs wireless providers to submit annual emergency operations plans, and requires the transition away from diesel back-up generators to a renewable backup generator. In addition, the new Decision also defines wireless resiliency and requires wireless providers to file resiliency and emergency plans that detail their ability to maintain a minimum level of service and coverage during a disaster or commercial power grid outage.

8) Air tankers dropping water and fire retardant assisted fire crews on the ground to help contain the Chinese Peak wildfire in Pocatello, Idaho, that erupted on Sunday. The wildfire ignited just east of Stockman Road around 2:45 p.m. and quickly threatened nearby neighborhoods. The raging wildfire had consumed nearly 1,450 acres by late Sunday, but firefighters worked swiftly and achieved 30 percent containment, with full containment expected by Monday evening.

 

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.