Local emergency responders unfazed by Monday’s earthquake
The Park Record editorial, Sept. 20-22, 2017
It will take a lot more than a 3.3 magnitude earthquake to rattle Summit County’s well-trained emergency responders. On Monday, local fire district and health department officials took the mild mid-morning earthquake in stride – closely monitoring the University of Utah’s nearest seismograph station and fielding questions from concerned residents on the west side of the county.
Fortunately, there were no reports of injuries or damage, but local firefighters and other public safety personnel were ready to swing into action, if needed. They train for disasters – both natural and man-made – every day.
Coincidentally, according to Summit County Emergency Manager Chris Crowley, several county staffers spent last weekend participating in Red Cross Shelter Management Training. He said the county also offers ongoing emergency response training (CERT) for community volunteers, who can be called on to help in the wake of a local disaster.
Park City Fire Service District Chief Paul Hewitt echoed Crowley’s confidence. He said residents shouldn’t be worried – but should make every effort to be prepared for emergencies – including earthquakes. “We live in a fault-ridden area,” he explained.
Hewitt said local firefighters can often be seen training for a variety of scenarios outside the Burns Fire Station north of Kimball Junction. They recently completed a specialized crane-training course aimed at rescuing people from high rises and construction sites.
The Park City Fire District also fields one of three FEMA certified search-and-rescue teams in the state, whose members get plenty of first-hand experience by responding to disasters across the country. Most recently, two members were dispatched to flood-ravaged areas of Texas.
All that should give residents some comfort that they will be well taken care of in an emergency. But even those who are paid to come to the rescue will say it is always best to take personal safety into your own hands as much as possible.
In that spirit, Monday’s tremor should be taken as a gentle reminder for all residents to dust off their household emergency plans.
Summit County was quick to include the state’s emergency preparedness tips in its social media posts on Monday. The comprehensive list can be found at: https://www.utah.gov/beready/earthquakePreparedness.html
Summit County residents can also sign up for local alerts (flood, fire, avalanche, etc.) by going to: http://summitcounty.org/list.aspx?ListID=169
Finally, if you have been inspired by some of the heroic efforts of regular residents rescuing their own neighbors and other community members in Florida and Texas, consider signing up to become a member of Summit County’s volunteer CERT team. The registration form can be found at: https://www.summitcounty.org/FormCenter/Emergency-Management-23/CERT-Registration-Form-76