Infrastructure Daily News 09.26.11

Transportation Sector

. September 23, Associated Press – (Washington) Coast Guard: grounded cargo ship in Columbia River. The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) said a 584-foot cargo vessel ran aground in the Columbia River near Cathlamet, Washington, but there were no visible signs of pollution. No injuries were reported from the September 22 mishap at Puget Island. The USCG said the Luminous Ace grounded after an electrical outage caused the vessel to lose its steering. Tug boats were sent to assist, and it is not blocking the waterway. The ship has regained power and propulsion. The USCG said the tugs planned to help move the vessel at high tide September 23 about 20 miles west to an anchoring spot near Astoria, Oregon. Source: Columbia-River-2184862.php

. September 22, Riverside Press-Enterprise – (California) Suicidal driver guilty of ramming school bus. A Riverside County, California man who rammed his car into a school bus carrying students pleaded guilty September 22 to eight counts of assault with a deadly weapon, and was sentenced to 2 years in prison on each count. The man was given credit for 336 days he has been in jail plus 168 days for good behavior for a total of 504 days. The incident happened in what was then the unincorporated Riverside County community of Jurupa. Moments before the wreck, California Highway Patrol dispatchers had notified the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department that a man was attempting to climb the Highway 60 overpass at Pedley Road in an apparent attempt to leap from the span and commit suicide. When that did not work, the man climbed into a Chevrolet HHR and drove the wrong way onto the Pedley Road off ramp of westbound Highway 60 and slammed into the Jurupa school bus. The bus was carrying seven passengers, all of them students at Nueva Vista Continuation High School. Three of the students and the driver suffered minor injuries in the crash. Source: ml For more stories, see items 4, 9, 11, 14, 25, 33, and 55

Postal and Shipping Sector

. September 22, Charlottesville Daily Progress – (Virginia) Mysterious package seals off Palmyra post office. Traffic was rerouted around Palmyra, Virginia, for more than 6 hours September 22 after a package containing floor sealant broke open at a post office. Officials sealed off the area around the post office after a postal worker delivering mail from Richmond around 6 a.m. heard a “pop” inside a package and then liquid leaked on him from inside the box, the Fluvanna County sheriff said. Five postal workers were kept inside the post office for several hours while federal, state, and local officials tried to determine what was inside the box, he said. Investigators with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service determined the box contained a plastic bottle of liquid floor sealer, a Special Agent with the inspection service said. The package was bound for a home in the area, he said. More than a dozen federal, state and local investigators and emergency crews worked the scene September 22, and officers blocked traffic on both sides of U.S. 15 into Palmyra. All lanes were opened after 9 hours, officials said. By late in the afternoon, the post office was open and mail was being delivered throughout the county. Source: post-office-ar-1330172/

Emergency Services Sector

. September 22, Washington Times – (District of Columbia) D.C. temporarily halts fire, EMS Twitter account. The Washington D.C. government has temporarily halted use of one of its most popular Twitter accounts to get a tighter handle on information disseminated about emergency operations. The District’s Fire and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Twitter account has been on hiatus since August 30, when the communications officer who ran it went on vacation, officials said. The account, which provided real-time information on emergency incidents in the city ranging from traffic accidents to fatal shootings, has been suspended as officials decide what data is safe to put online. Declining to elaborate on specific incidents that led officials to freeze the account, the communications director would only say it was recently brought to the department’s attention that “incorrect or inappropriate” information was published. Source: account

. September 22, WTOL 11 Toledo – (Ohio) Three threats in two days against Toledo fire stations. Police are investigating two shootings and a bomb threat at three fire stations in Toledo, Ohio. Around noon September 22, firefighters at Fire Station 18, located at 5221 Lewis, discovered a suspicious package outside the station. The Toledo Police called in their bomb squad, which dismantled the package. Inside was found a propane tank and a bag of charcoal. On September 21, sometime between 4 and 4:30 p.m., firefighters at Fire Station 6, located at 642 Starr Avenue, heard five shots fired. Two of the bullets made it inside the fire department. One of the bullets ricocheted off of one of the fire trucks, and one bullet lodged itself in a back wall. The shots were fired at an area frequently used by firefighters. No spent shells were found outside the station. Also on September 21, bullets were fired at Fire Station 9 at 900 South Street. Source:

. September 22, IDG News Service – (National) FCC moves toward texting, video for emergency calls. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) September 22 took the first step toward updating the nation’s 911 emergency dialing system so it can receive text messages, pictures, and videos, in addition to voice calls. The FCC voted to launch a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to create a next-generation 911 system that would allow mobile phone users to send text messages, pictures and videos to emergency response agencies by dialing 911. An updated 911 system will help police and fire departments better respond to emergencies, the chief of the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau said. In response to the U.S. East Coast earthquake August 23, the FCC’s NPRM also will seek comment on whether to prioritize 911 calls during emergencies, when mobile phone networks are often overloaded. In an NPRM, the FCC seeks comment on possible changes to agency policy. Many people are not aware that the 911 system cannot handle text or pictures, the FCC chairman said. Source: calls

. September 22, WSAZ 3 Huntington/Charleston – (West Virginia) Nicholas-Clay County 911 phone outage fixed. Frontier Communications crews have repaired a phone outage disrupting calls to the Nicholas-Clay County, West Virginia 911 center September 22. The deputy director said the circuits are working, test calls have been made from various locations in Clay and Nicholas Counties. and all were successful. Residents were able return to normal methods of contacting 911 for assistance. Source: Clay_County_911_Center_130386593.html

. September 21, Emergency Management – (Georgia) Georgia app uses geo-location to deliver emergency-related information. To provide emergency-related information directly to the public, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security (GEMA) and the state’s health department launched an app September 21, that not only provides a place for people to get updates, but also for them to store pertinent information. The app, called Ready Georgia, allows users to create a profile that includes information such as emergency contact phone numbers, an out-of-town meeting place, and work and school details. It also provides real-time hazard and weather alerts as well as a place for Georgians to track what emergency supplies they have on hand. The profile creation and disaster plan features are meant to increase preparedness before a disaster. But in the event of an emergency, the app uses geolocation technology, which determines a user’s location, to provide the location of open shelters and show the flow of traffic on evacuation maps. Currently local agencies are unable to add alerts to the app, but a GEMA spokeswoman said the agency will work with them to get their messaging out. Source: Location.html

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