California's Deadly 1862 Flood Likely to Repeat Within 50 Years, Study Says

(TNS) - The 1862 flood that went down as the worst washout in modern California history, transforming the Central Valley into a raging sea and stealing countless lives and property, is often described as an improbable 200-year event.

A study published Monday, however, turns those odds in a bad way, saying extreme weather swings from brutal dry spells to intense storms will become increasingly frequent, a phenomenon the authors dub “precipitation whiplash.”

In Search of Infrastructure-Proof Emergency Alerts

The increased reliance on emergency text alerts to receive warnings of natural or manmade disasters is a capability that most people have come to expect. Listening to broadcast radio warnings of severe weather happening miles away has transformed into more precise, geo-located alerts that target specific locations. The benefits of this technology are profound and should lead to people taking action when an alert comes in because they know that the threat is timely and accurate to their locations. New technologies could save many lives during future disasters.

Quake Scenario: More than 1M Bay Area Homes Could Suffer Extensive Damage

More than a million San Francisco Bay Area residents would face extensive damage to their homes after a major earthquake on the Hayward fault, according to a new earthquake scenario developed by the U.S. Geological Survey.

The USGS findings, which were developed with contributions from partners that include the California Earthquake Authority, are part of a HayWired earthquake scenario report that describes likely impacts from a rupture of the Hayward Fault in the Bay Area.

Dispatchers — the Calm Among the Chaos

(TNS) — In any given eight-hour shift, John Butz sits in front of eight monitors in the Trumbull Police Department, fielding 911 calls.

Amid the chaos that any night can bring, Butz will handle calls running the gamut from a report that someone ran over a mailbox to a 3-year-old in cardiac arrest.

“We’re the first link of communications,” during emergency situations, Butz said of dispatchers.

Casualty Drill Means Readying for the Unthinkable

(TNS) - Running past the wounded crying out for help, a team of police officers made sure an active shooter was was no longer a threat. Only then did they start giving other assistance at a mass casualty drill on Thursday morning.

“You can't assume he's dead,” said Officer Michael Eldred of the Indiana State University Police. “They are still a possible threat. That's why we handcuffed him. Then, once the shooter is secured and we make sure there were no other active shooters, we try to lend any assistance we can.”

Blood, wounds and weapons -- all fake -- added to the chaotic scene in a parking lot near the Landsbaum Center on the campus of Union Hospital.

Teams from both Regional and Union hospitals participated in the drill, along with Air Evac, IU Health Lifeline personnel, staff of the Rural Health Innovation Collaborative Simulation Center, and other agencies.

Mexico Earthquake Was California’s Wake-up Call

(TNS) - A number of cities big and small in Southern California are taking steps to identify seismically vulnerable buildings for the first time in a generation, acting in part on the devastating images of earthquake damage in Mexico and elsewhere around the world.

“What happened last year in Mexico City, we don’t want to experience in California,” David Khorram, Long Beach’s superintendent of building and safety, said of the quake that left more than 360 people dead. “We want to be progressive.”

In hopes of mitigating the loss of life from a major quake that experts say is inevitable, Long Beach is discussing spending up to $1 million to identify as many as 5,000 potentially vulnerable buildings.

FirstNet, Verizon Launch Dedicated Public Safety Networks

The nation’s two dedicated first responder networks are going live this week with private core services for members, representatives of both entities said.

In a news release, officials at AT&T, the service provider for the First Responder Network Authority, announced the launch of FirstNet’s core network across 56 states and territories March 27. The core network, the company said, will have a controlled introduction to a limited customer set while it is tested extensively, followed by the onboarding of more customers, likely in April or May.

Meanwhile, officials at Verizon announced the private core of their own dedicated network for public safety and first responders would become “generally available” to all members beginning on March 29.

Worried About Being on Top of an Earthquake Fault? New California Maps Will let you Know on a Smartphone

(TNS) - It’s now way easier to find out if you live in a California earthquake fault zone.

The California Geological Survey has published an easy-to-use interactive map online — type in your address or share your location on your smartphone, and, voila, you’ll know if you stand in a fault zone.

Or, for that matter, a place at risk of liquefaction or a landslide unleashed by an earthquake.

What these three zones have in common is the risk the ground can break in an earthquake, and not just be shaken.

Fire Season Could be Bad in the Pacific Northwest

(TNS) - Wildland firefighters expect the Pacific Northwest will see another busy fire season this year with land around Yakima especially vulnerable.

“If I were to pick one place that might experience above-average fire danger, it’s the Yakima Valley and the eastern slopes” of the Cascade Mountains, said Josh Clark, a meteorologist with the state Department of Natural Resources.

Less rain in the winter, above-average temperatures and less mountain snow mean fires could start earlier and burn longer than a typical season, Clark said.

More Than 60 Deaths in Fires, Floods Exposes Weaknesses in California's Emergency Planning

(TNS) — A reckoning on public preparedness long in the making is underway in California after a year that saw unprecedented death, destruction and loss from disasters set off by extreme weather.

Though California has long experienced natural disasters tied to weather, the last year recorded a staggering human toll — more than 40 dead in wine country fires and more than 20 in Santa Barbara County mudslides.

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