(ABC4 NEWS – SALT LAKE CITY, UT) I had the honor of sitting down recently with Salt Lake City Battalion Chief Jeffrey Thomas. This story is just a little slice of that interview. You can see the entire Jessop’s Journal interview by clicking HERE.

To give you an idea of Jeffrey’s credentials, he told me; “I’ve been a firefighter since 1987. So I’ve been at it for 33 years going on 34 years. So it’s been for a minute or two.”

To the Battalion Chief and all the other firefighters out there, “Thank You” for your service.

I asked the Battalion Chief if there was any particular thing that a homeowner can do to help protect their life and property safe.

Think, plan, and act.

Chief Thomas answered with some familiar information; “I think the thing you can do to prepare your family the most is to have the conversation.  Right. have the difficult conversation. Have an escape plan in place. And really just plan, right? Think, plan, and act. Talk about what we are going to do in the event of a fire. How do we get out of the house? Do we have gathering places established?”

But then the Battalion Chief brought up something most of us don’t think about as he asked me; “Have you considered having to live outside of your home environment for more than seventy-two hours?” Hmm. We did have some pretty major windstorms just a few days before our interview. My power had been out for a while. There were some parts of the area that still didn’t have their power back on yet.

He continued; “Katrina taught us that it makes take a while for the Calvary to arrive. If you think about New Orleans and where that took place, they were surrounded by resources. Whereas, Salt Lake City kind of being the gateway to the West. It could be a while before the Calvary arrives.”

Very good point. He reiterated his message and gave me a specific scenario.

‘Daddy, I’m cold.’

“The number one thing I try to drive home all the time is to prepare to live outside of your home for more than seventy-four hours. Okay it’s three-o-clock in the morning. We just got a fresh coat of snow outside. Ten inches of snow on the lawn and your house starts shaking violently. Now you have to get out with whatever you went to bed wearing and now you’re standing out in the snow. All the power is out in the neighborhood. And you look up and down and realize, man a lot of my neighbors managed to get out and that’s a beautiful thing. But in the meantime, you’re standing in eight or ten inches of snow and you look back at your house. It’s unreinforced masonry. It’s crumbled. It’s ready to collapse. It’s about that time that the youngest child looks up at you and says ‘Daddy, I’m cold.’ What are you prepared to do? Are you prepared to live outside of that environment based on your plan or not? So, disaster, emergency planning for me is one of the biggest takeaways that I would want everyone to consider in this interview. Man, it’s up to you. Your life depends on your planning in this environment.

Stories have power. They help us understand each other. With Battalion Chief Jeffrey James Thomas, I’m Doug Jessop, ABC4 New.


I’m blessed to do a number of news story series that air on ABC4 News. It is also my pleasure to have a number of my stories appear on various Nexstar Media Group TV station websites.

*You can also see my positive business profiles called “Utah Success Stories” every Sunday in the ABC4 News at 10 p.m. and online at www.ABC4.com/Success

*Everyone has a Story. Stories have Power. They help us Understand each other. “Jessop’s Journal” features in-depth, on-demand interviews not normally available in the news. A new segment is published every week at www.abc4.com/journal .

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I strongly feel that “stories have power”. Chances are that if you are going through something, that someone else probably has as well. The shared experiences we humans have can help each other. That my friend makes the point that stories “help us understand each other.”

You don’t have to agree with everyone, but in my opinion, if people would take more time getting to knowing more about others and where they are coming from, we just might find out that we have more similarities than differences.

A big shout out goes to my collaborator, Ed Wilets, who does a great job as my videographer/editor for all my stories. Your feedback is always welcome at DJessop@abc4.com

Thank you for watching, reading, liking, subscribing and all that other fun stuff. I’m Doug Jessop, ABC4 News.

Doug Jessop
For Doug Jessop, it all started with a cassette recorder he got for Christmas when he was 12 years old growing up in Southern California. Doug interviewed relatives, friends and anyone else that might have a good story. You can follow Doug at www.DougJessop.com, on YouTube.com/DougJessop, and @DougJessopNews on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.