Home Emergency Management News EDM Wednesday Briefing: Training Helps Ensure Disaster Preparedness
EDM Wednesday Briefing: Training Helps Ensure Disaster Preparedness

EDM Wednesday Briefing: Training Helps Ensure Disaster Preparedness


Emergency and disaster management briefing for August 7, 2019: FEMA approved six additional counties in Missouri to receive federal aid following disasters; to survive a disaster, officials encourage small businesses to have a disaster plan that includes appropriate insurance; a national dengue epidemic has been declared in the Philippines; Huntsville Hospital ensures preparedness by training regularly for all types of disasters; CERT training returns to Marysville, Washington; Canadian authorities find items on a riverbank directly tied to teen fugitives; a fire at a munitions storage plant in Siberia sparked explosions and prompted evacuations; and one person has died from Legionnaire's disease in an outbreak likely tied to an Atlanta hotel.

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1) The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved Missouri's request to expand its disaster declaration to include an additional six counties. Residents of Callaway, Jefferson, Lewis, McDonald, Newton and Saline counties are now eligible to access federal aid in the wake of storms and flooding that occurred between April 29 and July 5. President Trump approved federal disaster assistance for 20 counties in Missouri on July 9. To date, at least 1,000 households have received nearly $5 million in federal aid.

2) As hurricane season moves into its busiest months, efforts to ensure small businesses have a plan in place to survive a natural disaster have become a focal point. According to information from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), an estimated 40 percent of businesses never reopen following a disaster, with another 25 percent failing within one year. The majority of the failures are being attributed to limited resources. Having a plan, along with the proper insurance, is critical because even a disaster in another location or region can affect small businesses by disrupting supply chains and communications.

3) A national dengue epidemic has been declared in the Philippines after more than 600 people have died from the virus since January 1. A total of more than 146,000 cases have been reported since the beginning of 2019, and of those, 622 deaths have occurred. The declaration will enable use of local Quick Response Funds, enabling a rapid response by local governments to the outbreak. A controversial vaccine that was banned in 2017 in the country is being considered for use to help stop the epidemic, along with the destruction of mosquito breeding sites.

4) Preparedness is critical for hospitals, and Alabama's Huntsville Hospital -- a Level 1 Trauma Center and the only one in the region -- works diligently to ensure they are prepared for anything, including mass casualty incidents, infectious disease outbreaks, radiation exposure and natural disasters. Training is a top priority for the hospital, which conducts consistent internal drills and regularly engages in community drills that include the city, school system, and airport. Plans are regularly tested for effectiveness, efficiency  and implementation; the use of plain language with clear directives has reduced confusion and increased compliance.

5) In the wake of recent earthquakes, CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) training has returned to Marysville, Washington. The training, which provides skills to community members to assist in the event of a disaster or emergency, begins September 10, for eight consecutive Tuesdays. Attendance at all of the classes is required to be certified. The training is meant to equip residents with the skills to aid themselves and others, should professional assistance be too far away or unable to access the area for hours or even days depending on the severity of the incident.

6) Authorities in Canada found items along a riverbank they say are directly tied to the two fugitives who are suspected of killing at least three people in July. According to reports, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) stated the items were found along the Nelson River in Manitoba, a mere six miles from where a burned-out vehicle -- believed to belong to the suspects -- was found. Police did not release information about what items were found, and no other items were reportedly discovered during an underwater search.

7) A state of emergency was declared in Achinsk, Siberia in Russia, after a fire at an arms plant that stores gunpowder chargers set off explosions. Several districts nearby the plant were evacuated, along with towns and villages within a 12.4 mile radius, which included at least 6,000 people. Eight people were injured in the blast, and at least one person is reportedly missing since the series of explosions began.

8) An outbreak of Legionnaire's disease at an Atlanta hotel has left one person dead, and 11 others have been diagnosed with the disease, a serious and noncontagious form of pneumonia. There are an additional 61 probable cases, and it is suspected that those diagnosed contracted the disease at the Atlanta Sheraton, where they had stayed while attending a conference in July. The Atlanta Sheraton hired outside experts to conduct testing and voluntarily closed its doors until at least August 11.


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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.