SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – National Preparedness Month is observed every year during the month of September to raise awareness about the importance of preparing for disasters and emergencies that could happen at any time. Last year, a 5.7 magnitude earthquake hit Utah with Magna being the epicenter, and damaged several homes and buildings throughout the valley. Several strong wind storms have hit areas along the Wasatch Front as well, with the most severe leading to power outages and more. This year, the state has experienced extreme weather, making emergency and disaster preparedness relevant, timely, and potentially life-changing for some.
Last year’s calm and dry climate led to a historic drought in Utah and sparked up a few wildfires this year in February and March. Our state experienced an extreme heatwave that began in June of this year and is continuing even to this day, leading to a severe heat advisory in Southern Utah. The state also saw flash flooding during the past few months that was caused by heavy rainstorms during an abnormally strong monsoon season in areas like Paragonah, Cedar City, and Delta. But staff with the Utah Division of Emergency Management say Utahns shouldn’t wait until a disaster or emergency is on their doorstep and encourages the public to make their preparations now.
ABC4’s Meteorologist Cesar Cornejo joined Rosie Nguyen on the CW30 News at 7 p.m. for an IN FOCUS discussion. He recapped the extreme weather we’ve experienced in the state this year, how this year compares to past years, the weather records Utah has broken this year, what is causing or contributing to this year’s extreme weather patterns, natural disasters that occurred in 2021, and weather activity that he thinks we will see during the remainder of the year.
Michael Smauldon, executive director of the Northern Utah chapter of the American Red Cross shared which disasters and emergencies they’ve been responding to this year in Utah, the damage and impact their volunteers have seen come from these disasters, how they train their volunteers to help them prepare to help Utahns in need, the difference that preparation can make for residents who get caught in the pathway of these disasters, emergency and disaster preparation tips, and resources that are available for Utahns who may become potential victims of disasters in the near future.
Ken Kraudy, Be Ready Utah community outreach specialist for the Utah Division of Emergency Management discussed why preparedness is a topic that Utahns should think about year-round, the natural disasters and emergencies that Utahns should be most concerned about, emergency and disaster preparation tips, how families can keep their loved ones with special needs safe, and how to make preparations for pets.
Resources and tips can be found at Be Ready Utah. For those who’d like more information, Be Ready Utah will host a webinar on September 16th from 6 to 9 p.m. To register, visit their form on Eventbrite.
To watch the full IN FOCUS discussion with Cornejo, Smauldon, and Kraudy, click on the video at the top of the article.
Catch IN FOCUS discussions with ABC4’s Rosie Nguyen weeknights on the CW30 News at 7 p.m.