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Texas Emergency Management ONLINE 2016 Vol. 63 No. 9

Texas Emergency Management Briefs, Tips and Links

By: Kay Ledbetter
Writer: Kay Ledbetter, (806) 677-5608
Contact: Dr. Ed Bynum, (806) 677-5600

AMARILLO – Sugarcane aphid populations are exploding in grain sorghum fields across the Texas High Plains, warns a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service specialist in Amarillo.

Dr. Ed Bynum, AgriLife Extension entomologist, said the sugarcane aphid populations in the South Plains have reached economic thresholds. Infestations in the field can be just a few aphids per plant to a thousand or more aphids per plant.

Infestations were found Aug. 1 in sorghum silage trials near Bushland, and there was a report of aphids in an Ochiltree County field, he said.

"We need to make sure producers are out checking their fields, scouting for the sugarcane aphid and to be prepared for when insecticide applications are warranted."

Bynum said AgriLife Extension entomologists have advised the threshold for the High Plains is to treat when:

  • 20 percent of plants have aphids in the pre-boot stage.
  • 20 percent of the plants have no more than 50 aphids in the boot stage.
  • 30 percent in the flowering-milk.
  • 30 percent infested with localized areas of heavy honeydew and established aphid colonies in soft dough and dough stages.
  • At black layer, when heavy honeydew and established aphid colonies are present. Treat only for preventing harvest problems.

Bynum said field trials have shown only two chemicals provide good control of the aphid. These products are Transform and Silvanto.

Other insecticide products that might be recommended for control have not proven to be effective in studies across Texas, he said.

"Producers can control the sugarcane aphid if they stay on top of the situation and make timely applications," Bynum said.

For the most up-to-date news, sightings, recommendations on sampling and control, go to Texas Sugarcane Aphid News.

From shredded tires to a sofa sitting in traffic lanes, roadway debris caused more than 200,000 crashes with 500 deaths over four years across the USA, according to a new report.

AAA Road debris

About 39,000 people were injured in the crashes from 2011 through 2014, according to the study released Thursday by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

More than one-third of the deaths resulted from a driver swerving to avoid hitting debris, the report said. In other cases, cars struck the debris, sometimes setting off a chain-reaction of collisions.

The report found debris problems worsened from a 2001 study that found 25,000 crashes and less than 100 deaths that year. The latest version found an annual average of 50,000 debris-related crashes reported to police, with 9,800 injuries and 125 deaths during the four most recent years statistics were available.

All states have fines for items that fall from a vehicle onto a road, ranging from $10 in Delaware and Wisconsin to $5,000 and a year in prison in Washington state, according to the report. At least 16 states list jail time as a possible punishment.

From USA Today

By Jason Henry, San Gabriel Valley Tribune

NASA's new artificial intelligence — capable of running on a cellphone — could soon put Apple's Siri and Microsoft's Cortana to shame.

The hope for the AI, named AUDREY, is to be deployed in the field to help save first responders' lives by making split-second recommendations in dangerous situations, NASA officials said.

AUDREY works by pulling in data from the environment and from the equipment being carried by first responders.

In this way, the AI can detect temperature changes, gases and other threats. The cloud-based overseer will then on its own send custom warnings to individuals in the field.

In a fire, it might detect a propane tank through a camera carried by the firefighter, or warn of elevated temperatures in a nearby room.

AUDREY's connectivity bridges the gaps in different communication networks, allowing the AI to spread information to different agencies at the same time.

AUDREY stands for Assistant for Understanding Data through Reasoning, Extraction and sYnthesis. JPL partnered with the Department of Homeland Security to develop the AI.

DHS wants AUDREY to become another tool for what it calls the "Next Generation First Responder."

The AI pulls in all the data and distributes only the most relevant information to individuals based on their role and location, allowing the first responders to do their jobs without getting overloaded by readings.

AUDREY isn't quite ready for release, but JPL plans to start real-world tests within a year.

From San Gabriel Valley Tribune

I think that we can all take a trip down memory lane for a moment and remember our childhood fire drills in school. We remember having to get in single file lines and proceeding to the closest exit and running through the same old routine quarterly.

The purpose being practicing for the worst case scenario which would be an active fire inside the school.

The overall objective should be practicing to the point where it is muscle memory. Implementing a strong a reliable fire evacuation plan should be a priority for not only businesses and schools but for inside the home as well.

A well-rounded fire evacuation plan

A solid, well-rounded fire evacuation plan can benefit all occupants inside any occupied facility or dwelling. Inside the plan should be conditions where an evacuation is warranted and proper routes and exits that are easy to understand in the event of an emergency. With the graphic technology that is available for us today, making a diagram that shows the exits and routes is now easier than ever.

Here are a few tips that can help with making the evacuation of a building or home successful:

  1. Clear egress paths.
  2. Install fire safety equipment on each floor of the facility to include fire extinguishers.
  3. Ensure smoke detectors are placed and functioning in all sleep areas.
  4. Establish a safe meeting place outside the structure in the even of an emergency.
  5. Take accountability.

In a family setting, involving children in the evacuation plan diagram is very important. Consider having the children draw their own diagram this way they are able to draw something that will be able to understand. Also, this will keep them focused on the importance of knowing what to do in the event of the emergency.

Be safe, be focused and don't be another statistic.

From Emergency Management Digest

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