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Emergency preparedness advocates say recent disasters are reason to be prepared

SALT LAKE CITY – Emergency preparedness officials say recent hurricanes, floods and wildfires should give Utahns plenty motivation to prepare a 72-hour emergency kit.

While Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Harvey and the 8.1 magnitude earthquake in Mexico are grabbing the national headlines, emergency officials say there are other things that should have Utahns concerned.  Be Ready Utah Manager Wade Mathews says, “Just over the Idaho border, there was a swarm of 100 earthquakes.”

 

However, even with nearby earthquakes and fires forcing evacuations in Utah, Mathews says people have still commented to him they don’t believe a large-scale disaster can happen here.  He adds, “Another reason is [they say] the government will come to our rescue and the government will help us.  But, those aren’t totally true.  Things can happen here, and the government doesn’t have the resources to help everybody.”

Mathews believes everyone knows the basics of what to put in their 72-hour kits.  Things like food, water and batteries are obvious additions, but, he says many people overlook the need for medication, glasses or contact lenses and even something to keep themselves entertained.

Meanwhile, one group is hoping to construct an interactive emergency preparedness museum in Salt Lake County’s west side.  Darlene Turner with The Disaster Discovery Center says their 30 thousand square foot facility would have fire and earthquake simulations to teach people what they need to do in an emergency.  She says, “We love our first responders, but, they’ve told us that there’s not enough of them to go around to come to every family, specifically,” adding, “It’s going to be neighbor helping neighbor and family member helping family member.”

She says they’ve been researching a potential facility for five years, and are now trying to raise the funding to make it.