Editorial: Summit County residents shouldn’t pass up opportunity to prepare for emergencies | ParkRecord.com

Editorial: Summit County residents shouldn’t pass up opportunity to prepare for emergencies

It's impossible to be over-prepared for an emergency, yet the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says roughly half of American households don't even have an emergency water supply or evacuation kit.

Even fewer have emergency communication plans or a designated meeting place for family members to gather if a crisis occurs.

If there's a similar lack of preparedness among households in Summit County, a lot of residents stand to benefit from an event set to take place Thursday. Summit County and the Park City emergency management department have organized an open house centered on community disaster preparedness. The event, scheduled from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Treasure Mountain Junior High School, will provide a number of resources to educate residents about the steps they need to ensure they're ready for all kinds of emergencies.

The open house comes as what could be a particularly dangerous wildfire season nears. But while wildfires are seemingly the most immediate threat, the county's emergency preparedness guide also identifies earthquakes, severe winter storms, utility failures and the spread of hazardous material among the other emergencies residents could face in the future.

The prospect of any of those events happening can seem remote — there's a reason so few Americans are adequately prepared for emergencies, after all. And the fact we live in a picturesque mountain community that people come from all over the world to visit can contribute to a perception that we're safe from disasters. But the reality, as cliche as it is, is that an emergency can strike at any time.

And if one does, residents who took the effort to do things like store water, compile 72-hour disaster kits and create communication plans will be in much better shape than those who didn't. Signing up for the Summit County/Park City emergency notification program by visiting summitcountyalerts.com is also a smart idea.

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For the many families that haven't made those preparations, attending Thursday's event will be a good first step. Hopefully they'll never be in a position of needing to survive in an emergency, but if a crisis occurs, they'll be grateful for the knowledge they gather at the open house.

The Summit County Community Disaster Open House is scheduled for Thursday, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Treasure Mountain Junior High School. For more information about family emergency preparedness, including the county's preparedness guide, visit summitcountyhealth.org/emergency-preparedness/.