EDM Wednesday Briefing: Istanbul Attack, WV Flooding, Train Crash, WiFi Security, National Parks
Emergency and disaster management briefing for June 29, 2016: An attack at Istanbul's main airport leaves more than 40 dead, two trains collide in a fiery crash in Texas, West Virginia struggles to recover from historic flooding, most public WiFi users don't fully understand the risks of its use, and climate change is impacting U.S. national parks in more ways than one.
- Suicide attackers at Istanbul’s main airport killed at least 41 people and left more than 230 others injured. The terrorist attack occurred shortly before 10 p.m. Tuesday and reportedly involved both explosives and gunfire. Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said that officials suspect the attack was committed by extremists loyal to ISIS.
- Two BNSF trains crashed head-on yesterday morning in town of Panhandle, TX about 25 miles northeast of Amarillo in northwest Texas. At least one person was injured and some residents were evacuated after fires erupted due to the crash. Three crew members were still missing late last night as emergency personnel battled flaming wreckage.
- West Virginia continued its slow recovery from historic floods that turned out to be the worst in a century for portions of the state. At least 24 people died, at least 100 homes were severely damaged, and more than 30,000 people lost power in the flooding. Meteorologists say that West Virginia was hit by a phenomenon known as 'training' in which thunderstorms line up over the same location like the cars of a freight train and flood that location with torrential rains that can cause major destruction.
- Internet security firm Norton released its most recent Wi-Fi Risk Report, which detailed current findings regarding the use of public WiFi networks, along with both real and perceived risks in doing so. Norton revealed that of those people who have utilized free WiFi, 61 percent incorrectly believe that their information is safe when connecting to these public networks.
- Climate change, increased extreme weather events, and harsher natural disasters are all negatively impacting the U.S. National Park System (NPS). Additionally, warmer temperatures are driving people to the park earlier in the year and extending the season, which is creating new challenges for park rangers and how they manage camping sites and facilities. NPS research revealed a 13- to 31-day growth in the average season in recent years.
- The U.S. Forest Service named a new director to oversee the National Fire and Aviation Management Program. Shawna Legarza, who has more than two and a half decades of wildland fire management experience, will now oversee all wildland fire operations; the Forest Service has managed wildland fire for more than 100 years.
- A wildfire still burning in California north of Los Angeles could end up being the most destructive wildfire in Kern County history. The Erskine Fire has grown to more than 46,000 acres and some evacuation orders are still in place despite the fact that crews achieved approximately 60 percent containment as of late last night. Two deaths have already been connected to this fire.
- The end of June also marks the end of Pet Preparedness month. Nearly 65 percent of all homes have at least one pet, so for many families, all disaster plans need to account for pets, as well. The Department of Homeland Security's Ready.gov maintains a webpage full of advice for helping to create disaster plans that include these family members.
- The police department in Chattanooga, TN is looking to utilize a new, state-of-the-art camera system that would essentially give the department access to real-time crime data in the city. The new system, which would make use of hundreds of cameras across the city, would allow officers at the station track critical details as incidents unfold. If funded, the project is expected to take 18 months to implement.
- A stretch of severe rain in Montgomery County, Texas has prompted officials to study ways to reduce flooding in order to reduce the likelihood of catastrophic outcomes when heavy rains hit. Regional leaders are heading a nearly $1 million study to improve and expand the early flood warning capabilities for the county and explore ways to reduce the likelihood of flooding in the region.