Home Emergency Management News EDM Wednesday Briefing: President Targets Rural America's Failing Critical Infrastructure with Major Funding

EDM Wednesday Briefing: President Targets Rural America's Failing Critical Infrastructure with Major Funding

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for February 21, 2018: A seventh-grade student shoots and injures himself in an Ohio middle school, FEMA rolls out new flood maps for Mobile, Alabama, a report reveals Hawaii is reportedly lacking in All Hazards disaster preparedness, President Trump targets critical infrastructure upgrades in rural America with major funding, the Washington, D.C. Metro suffers delays after another incident involving smoke in a tunnel, the CDC issued an urgent warning about Kratom and Salmonella on Tuesday, an office building across from the White House is evacuated after the report of a suspicious vehicle, and a major weather system impacts states from Texas to the Great Lakes.

    1. A seventh-grade student at an Ohio middle school shot and injured himself in the restroom of the school on Tuesday and was taken to a nearby hospital. The incident occurred at Jackson Memorial Middle School, near Canton, Ohio, and police stated they are unsure if the wound was accidental or self-inflicted. Police also found distraction-type devices that would make loud noises in the boys backpack, along with ammunition.

    1. New flood maps are now available to community members in Mobile, Alabama and will be presented at community meetings to help residents better understand how this impacts their flood insurance rates. The flood maps, determined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for the Flood Insurance Rate Map, are divided into zones indicating current flood risks and will become effective in 2019. The area has expanded by 18.7 square miles, to a total affected area of 225 square miles, which impacts an additional 12,000 properties in unincorporated portions of the county.

    1. A new report prepared in the aftermath of the false missile warning in Hawaii highlights the need for better disaster preparedness efforts across the state. The report indicated that response capabilities needed to be improved, along with investments to improve infrastructure and technology, and the implementation of community preparedness training. Recommendations included the need to develop a strategic plan to expand the state's All Hazards Plan to include chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear scenarios, but notes that due to the state's geographic location, inherent obstacles exist that will require a whole community effort to ensure better preparedness.

    1. President Trump announced that under his infrastructure agenda, rural America will see a revitalization through improvements made to the nation's roads, rail, waterways, and utilities. Vital infrastructure across the nation is inadequate and crumbling, placing the nation at risk, and the President's plan, through a budget commitment of $50 billion, is to rebuild, expand, and modernize the nation's infrastructure to increase the speed and flow of commerce. The infrastructure improvements will also help create jobs across the nation by encouraging investment in rural areas as services and access are improved.

    1. A station in the Washington, D.C. Metro system was shut down after smoke was reported in a tunnel between the Armory and Benning Road Stations at around 5:20 a.m. on Tuesday. Officials temporarily shut down the Benning Road Station due to the smoke from burning debris found near the tracks, causing the Silver and Blue lines to single track and creating significant delays on the Orange Line in both directions. The D.C. Metro has suffered multiple incidents due to its failing infrastructure, but is currently undergoing major improvements systemwide--which are also slated to cause significant delays across its service area in the coming months.

    1. On Tuesday, February 2o, the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an urgent warning to individuals to avoid consuming the herbal drug Kratom in any form because of its potential contamination with Salmonella. Kratom is known for its stimulant affect, is often used as a substitute for opioids, and may be found under the following names: Biak, Kakuam, Ketom, Thang, and Thom. The CDC is currently investigating a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella, which they believe is related to Kratom, and has indicated that 28 people have been infected across 20 states, with 11 individuals being hospitalized.

    1. The new Executive Office Building, located across the street from the White House, in Washington, D.C., was evacuated early on Wednesday due to the report of a suspicious vehicle. Officials descended on the scene and closed streets in the area, including 17th Street NW from G to H. Explosive Ordnance Personnel were called in to inspect the vehicle--which was cleared--and the streets were reopened a short time later.

    1. A major storm system extending from Texas to the Great Lakes has wreaked havoc across many states as they continue to be pummeled with anything from torrential rain to freezing rain, ice, and snow that is likely to produce flooding across the Midwest. In Minnesota, officials stated that the weather has been responsible for 250 spinouts and 400 traffic accidents, including two fatal crashes and the weather is also being blamed for four deaths in Nebraska. Weather forecasters indicate that some parts of Arkansas could see up to 8 inches of rain this week, prompting flood watches across the state. In Kansas City, freezing rain and ice caused delays and cancellations on Tuesday as the dangerous weather caused rapidly deteriorating conditions at the Kansas City International Airport.

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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.