SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – State officials say natural disasters can happen anywhere at anytime, and are preparing for the worst possible scenario — a magnitude 7.0 earthquake along the Wasatch Front.
“An earthquake like that would really disrupt everything about life,” explained Joe Dougherty, Utah Division of Emergency Management.
While a variety of disasters can hit our state, Dougherty tells ABC4 Utah’s Brittany Johnson that the right earthquake has the ability to cut off Utah’s main roads in and out of the Wasatch Front and affect transportation.
“It almost would be like we are on an island here in the Wasatch Front,” Dougherty said. “When you drive home tonight think about how many bridges you cross and there’s a chance that any one of those could be compromised in a devastating earthquake.”
Any agency that has an emergency response role, the Utah Red Cross, the health department, Utah Highway Patrol, the National Guard, local churches, etc., gathers at the Utah State Capitol inside the Emergency Operations Center. The goal is for all emergency responders to be on the same page in providing relief efforts.
“We want to be as ready as possible for when it’s our turn for a natural disaster,” Dougherty said. “With feeding, sheltering, evacuations, the bulk of goods like food and water and how we reunite people that have been separated.”
Despite what you may have heard in the past, if a natural disaster hits your area, Dougherty says you need to be self-sufficient for up to 14 days. That means get an emergency preparedness kit together now. Fill it with items such as flashlights, extra batteries, water, food, blankets, etc.
“We need people to take the time to do that now because it could be an extended period of time before help is on its way,” Dougherty said.
Remember these four words: plan, prepare, train and repeat. For more preparedness tips go to bereadyutah.gov.
Community Preparedness, Implementing Simple Activities for Everyone: https://training.fema.gov/is/courseoverview.aspx?code=IS-909
The Role of Voluntary Organizations in Emergency Management: http://training.fema.gov/is/courseoverview.aspx?code=IS-288.a
Introduction to Community Emergency Response Teams: http://training.fema.gov/IS/courseOverview.aspx?code=IS-317
Earthquake Basics: Science, Risk and Mitigation:
Preparing for mass casualty events: a guide for schools, Higher education and houses of worship: http://training.fema.gov/is/courseoverview.aspx?code=IS-360
Protecting your home or small business from disaster:
Community preparedness: implementing simple activities for everyone: http://training.fema.gov/is/courseoverview.aspx?code=IS-909