For many, 2020 seems reminiscent of the R.E.M. song “It’s the End of the World as We Know it.” It has certainly been a year filled with unexpected occurrences, many of which caught more than a few folks unprepared. We have an on-going pandemic, we’ve had the biggest Utah earthquake in recent memory accompanied by hundreds of aftershocks, and the wildfire season is raging. The good news is, the City continues to plan and prepare for these unexpected situations and there are systems in place to help our community; most importantly, you and your family can get prepared now for the next thing to come our way.
The City of South Jordan has a trained emergency manager, Aaron Sainsbury, who is constantly preparing and practicing plans for all types of emergencies. The City has Emergency Management Plans that have been in place for more than a decade for wildfires, floods, plane crashes, earthquakes, severe weather, drought, hazardous materials incidents, power outages, terrorism or acts of violence, civil disturbance, dam failure, and yes, even for pandemics. The plans are continually reviewed and updated and take into account the changing demographics and infrastructure in our community. These plans ensure the City is ready help residents and restore critical infrastructure quickly and efficiently. For the City’s plans to be most successful, individuals and families also need to plan and prepare for disasters as well.
There are systems and resources in place for residents to be prepared to help themselves and their neighbors, like the Schools Aid Families in Emergencies (S.A.F.E. Neighborhoods) program. In this program, the City’s eight public elementary schools will be used as a neighborhood evacuation hub, designated as the gathering point for neighborhood residents during a catastrophic disaster.
S.A.F.E. Neighborhoods activates when transportation, communications, and other basic services are disrupted. Residents can report to the elementary school where they can gather and share information. Residents are not encouraged to gather at schools during a less severe disaster or abandon a home that is safe and structurally stable.
Each school has a “Just in Time” kit to be used in these situations. This kit includes maps, plans, forms, as well as supplies such as tape, vests, and signs, which help any community member to coordinate community response to the incident. While not a shelter, or medical site, it’s a central gathering location to pass along (Continued on Pg. 2) information and needs. This is a great program and it offers a central meeting location for your family to include in your own emergency preparedness plan.
September is Emergency Preparedness Month, which serves as a good time to create (or review and revise) your family’s emergency plans. Every family should have an emergency preparedness plan, a go-kit that includes water, food, first aid kit etc. that you keep at home, work or in the car, as well as a stay-at-home kit that includes items that allow you to shelter in place for a period of time. While you can buy kits online, make sure to include items that are unique to your needs, like medication and pet items. We encourage all residents to complete this emergency preparedness checklist this September:
- Get a Kit
- Make a Plan
- Get Informed
If you already have a plan and a kit, this month is the time to review your plan and to check your kit to see if anything needs to be replaced. For resources on how to build an emergency preparedness plan and for what should go in your kits, visit BeReadyUtah.gov. You should also register your mobile phone with Reverse 911 so you receive important emergency communications. Have questions about emergency preparedness? Reach out to Aaron Sainsbury, our emergency manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.