National Preparedness Month kicks off this week

Sep 5, 2013

This weekend marked the start of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s “National Preparedness Month.” The effort, which began in 2004, encourages Americans to be prepared for all kinds of disasters. Joe Dougherty from the Utah Division of Emergency Management explained why this month is so important for safety.

National Preparedness Month poster.

“We know that disasters can happen any time, anywhere. No state is immune from natural disasters. This campaign takes place every September to help Americans be more prepared,” Dougherty said.

Dougherty said Utah’s worst case scenario for a disaster would be a large earthquake in the middle of winter.

“A 7.0 earthquake along the Wasatch Front would bring devastation to hundreds of thousands of people…it would be a true catastrophe in our state, especially in the dead of winter,” Dougherty explained.

Though an earthquake would likely impact much of the Wasatch Front, other natural disasters are actually more common in the state. Knowing how to be prepared for the wildfires that strike every summer and floods, which is what caused Utah’s last Presidential Disaster Declaration, is important. 

“The main principals are that people should make a plan, they should get a kit, they should be informed and then they should be involved,” Dougherty said.

Preparedness tips include writing down important contact information in case cell phones cannot be used and making a plan for where to meet  family after a disaster.