Home Emergency Management News EDM Wednesday Briefing: Earthquake, Terror Threat, Snow Warnings, Tainted Candy, Missing Airplane

EDM Wednesday Briefing: Earthquake, Terror Threat, Snow Warnings, Tainted Candy, Missing Airplane


Emergency and disaster management briefing for Wednesday, December 7, 2016

  1. A 6.5 magnitude undersea earthquake struck just off the coast of Aceh, in Northern Sumatra, Indonesia on Tuesday. The U.S. Geological Survey stated that the quake, which struck at 5:03 a.m. local time, was 11 miles deep and occurred 12 miles southeast of Sigli, a town close to the northern tip of Aceh. Officials indicated that nearly 100 people have been killed and at least 270 people have been injured. Reports indicate that the death toll is likely to rise as workers use excavation equipment to move debris and rescue workers comb through the rubble of collapsed buildings.
  2. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) stated that they have found no evidence to indicate that the terror threat against the Los Angeles commuter rail station is credible. Officials had increased security throughout the region on Monday and Tuesday when a terror threat against the commuter rail's University Station in Los Angeles, California was called in from Australia. The FBIs Joint Terrorism Task Force in Los Angeles was notified on Monday, and decided to warn the public due to the specific nature of the threat.
  3. The death toll in the Oakland, California warehouse fire stands at 36, and officials cited smoke inhalation as the cause of death in all the victims. Of the 36 dead, 22 have been identified, with a tentative identification of 10 additional victims. The identification of the other three victims will have to come from science, likely through DNA testing since families of possible victims were asked to preserve DNA sources for comparison. Electrical appliances located on the first floor are being considered as the possible cause, and in particular, a refrigerator, although investigators have not yet completed a full investigation and no final conclusions have been made.
  4. Officials stated that the fire threat is over and as of 7:00 a.m. on Wednesday, Gatlinburg, Tennessee residents will be able to return home permanently, with the city officially reopening to the public on Friday at 7:00 a.m. A curfew remains in effect from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. on Wednesday and Thursday. The wildfires that raged through the area were sparked by hurricane force winds that spread embers from the nearby Chimney Tops fire and toppled power lines, causing additional fires and forcing the evacuation of at least 14,000 people and killing 14 more than a week ago.  Nearly all of the victims have been identified that were killed in the fire. Firefighters have been working around the clock to contain the blaze, and at least two inches of rain falling over three days on the area has helped extinguish the historical fire. Fire crews are in the demobilization stage, and officials from the National Park Service indicate that the incident is transitioning from a Type 1 team, which handles the most complex incidents, to a Type 3 team, which handles lesser incidents, by Friday.  
  5. Three of the 12 students hospitalized following the deadly school bus crash in Chattanooga, Tennessee nearly two weeks ago are still in the hospital and listed as being in fair condition. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the incident, which killed six children, after the driver lost control of the bus while speeding down a narrow road, a road not on his designated route. The driver, Johnthony Walker,the driver of the school bus and a 24 year-old male, was arrested the evening of the crash has been charged with at least six counts of vehicular homicide, reckless endangerment, and reckless driving.
  6. The Cities of Bismarck, Minot, and Lincoln in North Dakota declared a snow emergency and issued a no travel advisory on Tuesday due to severe blizzard conditions that closed roads and the airport, making travel nearly impossible. Bitter winds and icy conditions crippled the area as snow plows struggled to keep up with the blowing and drifting snow. The blizzard also forced the closure of I-29 from Fargo, ND, to the Canadian border, and I-94 from Bismarck to Fargo on Tuesday.
  7. A lake effect snow warning has been issued for Upstate New York as weather officials warn that from 6:00 a.m. on Thursday to 6:00 a.m on Saturday, more than three feet of snow could be dumped on the region. The warning is in effect for seven counties including Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Jefferson, Lewis, Oswego, and the southern portions of Erie and Wyoming counties. Forecasters are calling for winds near 35 mph, resulting in blowing and drifting snow, reducing visibility, down to a quarter mile or less, and making travel conditions hazardous or dangerous.
  8. Several high school students from a Naperville, Illinois high school were taken to the hospital on Tuesday after eating gummy bears thought to be laced with a liquid marijuana type substance. A total of 14 students were transported to the hospital after complaining about dizziness, dry mouth, and a fast heart rate. At least 12 of the 14 students had eaten the gummy bears, and statements by the school district point to the gummy bears as the source of the symptoms, but officials warn that testing of the candy has not yet been completed.
  9. A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane has gone missing with 47 passengers on board. The PIA plane, an ATR-42, which took off from the northern city of Chitral bound for Islamabad on Wednesday, lost contact with ground control around 4:30 p.m. local time (1130 GMT) after a mayday call from the plane's pilots shortly before is scheduled arrival time. Since losing contact with the civil aviation authority, the plane is now considered to be missing by PIA officials.

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.