Emergency and disaster management briefing for September 17, 2021: Changes in emergency management 20 years after 9/11 sees the implementation of FirstNet; Wichita is seeking federal funding to build two dams to remove a flood plain; all evacuation orders for Plumas County for the Dixie Fire have been lifted; the National Risk Index is now fully updated with significant new features; a new webinar hosted by CISA will address cybersecurity threats and resources; the world’s largest container ship is set to traverse the Suez Canal; a record number of ships are waiting to be offloaded at California ports; and a new unified software system aims to provide a connective platform to plan, visualize, and optimize a microgrid project.

1. It has been 20 years since the terrorist attacks on 9/11, and the lessons learned have led to many advances in emergency management. The terrorist attacks highlighted the limitations in communications interoperability and led to multiple plans and improvements, including implementation of the National Emergency Communications Plan (NECP). This plan was the catalyst that eventually led to FirstNet, whose mission is to deploy, operate and maintain a broadband network dedicated to public safety.

2. Wichita is seeking federal funding to construct two dams to remove a flood plain that consists of nearly 500 acres. The dry-retention dams would be built to contain water from Calfskin Creek and its tributaries, which are prone to flooding. The flood-prone area is situated in west Wichita and would allow the acreage to be further developed. The dams would also alleviate the need for the 212 homes already built there to purchase flood insurance.

3. On Wednesday, the Plumas County Sheriff’s Department lifted the remaining evacuation orders for the county. Containment on the Dixie Fire has now grown to 86%, with minimal fire activity due to recent rainfall. Nearly 2,420 people remain assigned to the fire for mop-up and patrols, although post-fire suppression repair has already begun.

4. A major update to the National Risk Index was announced last month by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The National Risk Index visually identifies traits in communities which are most at risk from natural hazards. Released in 2020, the tool had limited capacity; however, the recent update includes significant new features such as community risk profiles, along with risk comparison reports for any county or census tract.

5. A new webinar being held by a Cyber Security Advisor (CSA) will help identify cybersecurity threats and resources for organizations across the nation. The CSA is from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and information in the webinar will cover the cyber threat landscape, the mechanics of ransomware and cyberattacks, best practices, and protective measures. No-cost cybersecurity resources will also be highlighted during the webinar. Although the webinar is open to anyone, registration is required.

6. En route to traverse the Suez Canal is the largest container ship ever built, Ever Ace, of the Evergreen line. The massive ship holds 3,868 more containers than the Ever Given and is 8.8 feet wider, with a depth that is 1.7 feet greater than the Ever Given. The Suez Canal has seen two ships run aground this year while traversing the canal. The first was Evergreen’s Ever Given that ran aground and blocked the canal for nearly a week in March, creating a traffic jam and backlog of over 400 ships that disrupted the entire shipping industry. In early September, cargo vessel MV Coral Crystal ran aground, but was quickly refloated after about 15 minutes.

7. As shipyards struggle to offload containers, container dwell time in terminals has reached its peak since the surge began. According to reports, there are a record 65 ships waiting to be offloaded at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, 23 of which were forced to drift since anchorages are full. The wait time to berthing is approximately 8.7 days – an all-time high – that likely stems from a 30% increase in trans-Pacific capacity.

8. New software aims to connect engineers/developers with funding institutions to optimize both the technical and financial goals associated with microgrid projects. The unified software system, XENDEE, seeks to provide a seamless interface that allows connectivity between all groups to plan, visualize, and optimize a microgrid project. This interface will help drive decisions about the financial validity and physical viability of a planned project through four key stages before a single cable is laid.

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