Home Emergency Management News EDM Digest Wednesday Briefing: 7.1 Earthquake in Mexico; Maria Batters Puerto Rico

EDM Digest Wednesday Briefing: 7.1 Earthquake in Mexico; Maria Batters Puerto Rico

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for September 20,2017: Mexico was struck by a powerful 7.1 earthquake leaving hundreds dead, Hurricane Maria makes landfall in Puerto Rico as a strong Category 4 storm, educators participate in a firearms class to prepare for school shootings, police uncover disturbing evidence in the Freeman High School shooting, all eyes are on Mount Agungo in Bali as smoke is seen rising after a large spike in seismic activity, a police officer was hurt in San Antonio by a fleeing suspect, two police officers are injured when protests turn violent at Georgia Tech, two earthquakes hit New Zealand just an hour apart.

  1. A powerful 7.1 earthquake struck near Puebla, Mexico on Tuesday, about 75 miles south of the nation's capital, Mexico City, collapsing many buildings and sending people out into the streets during the prolonged tremor. The collapse of a school has left at least 20 children dead, and more than 30 children and 8 adults are still missing as rescuers frantically dig through the rubble to rescue those trapped. The death toll is already over 200 and includes deaths that have occurred in Mexico City, and the states of Morelos, Puebla, and Guerrero. 
  2. Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico as a strong Category 4 storm early Wednesday with sustained winds of 155 mph and a central pressure of 921 mb. Maria has already claimed at least one life and injured two others on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, where it made landfall as a dangerous Category 5 storm. President Trump issued emergency declarations for Puerto Rico, and for the U.S. Virgin Islands, where impacts from the storm were already being felt early Wednesday. 
  3. Educators from 12 states participated in a three day course called FASTER Saves Lives--a class designed to teach them how to use firearms to take down a gunman and treat wounds. The class is held in Greenville, Ohio and requires participants to achieve 90 percent accuracy on their firearms test, 10 percent higher than what is required for law enforcement, in order to pass. Eight states allow school staff with concealed carry licenses to have guns at schools and so far, more than 1,000 educators have taken the course.
  4. Following a school shooting near Spokane, Washington, where Caleb Sharpe shot and killed one student and injured three others, a police search of his home uncovered weapons, ammunition, and a school yearbook that had faces marked with X's. Reports indicate that the student, a sophomore at Freeman High School, was seeking to teach students a lesson about what happens when they bully others. Sharpe remains in police custody following a brief hearing where he entered the plea of not guilty
  5. Residents and visitors alike are keeping a watchful eye on the now smoking Mount Agung, a volcano on the island of Bali, Indonesia. The governor of the island has asked everyone to remain calm even though seismic activity beneath the volcano increased significantly on Monday, causing the government to raise the island's emergency alert to a level 3--high alert, and order evacuations within 7.5 kilometers of the summit, including hiking trails. The last time the volcano erupted was in 1963, killing more than 1,000 people.
  6. A police officer in San Antonio, Texas was hurt early Tuesday after a suspect in an undercover drug bust, Rene Martinez, 19, rammed a police cruiser then struck a patrolman while trying to escape. Undercover officers, who suspected the individual had narcotics and a stolen firearm, were using surveillance to observe the suspect, who was later found to have an AR-15 and narcotics in his vehicle. When the suspect approached his car, a marked police cruiser drove up, and to avoid being arrested, Martinez rammed the cruiser, then drove off and hit the patrolman before crashing his car and attempting to escape on foot. 
  7. Following the shooting of a knife-wielding student by police on Monday at Georgia Tech, a peaceful vigil turned violent resulting in two police officers being injured and the arrests of at least three individuals. One protestor set a police cruiser on fire, while other masked protestors were seen shouting into the face of police officers as they were being arrested. The shooting incident, thought to be a death-by-cop suicide, is now being investigated by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI).
  8. On Tuesday, New Zealand was struck with a 6.1 magnitude earthquake southwest of Invercargill. The quake was strongly felt throughout the nation's capital, Wellington and the Cook Strait area, with a second quake coming just one hour later and registering a 5.1 magnitude. Shaking from the second quake was strong enough that the commuter service, Metlink in Wellington, stopped all trains. According to seismologists, the two earthquakes were not related. 

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.