Sep 23 16

Be Prepared for Anything: Including Tornadoes in Utah!

Ms. Rita Rents

BE PREPAREDI think we could all use a reminder on being prepared, especially after a tornado hit our little town in Utah yesterday which is unheard of! If someone told me on Monday that there would be a tornado on Thursday, I’d tell them that’s absurd!  States like Oklahoma, Texas, and Kansas are prepared for tornadoes, because it happens, frequently, but it just doesn’t happen here, so we thought. 

We are always taught to be prepared for earthquakes, blizzards and flooding, but not tornadoes!  Yesterday’s events bring a great point to National Preparedness Month, that no matter where we live or what kinds of natural disasters our geography is prone to, we should be prepared.  Preparedness comes in many forms, not just having a medical kit nearby.

One of the biggest challenges in an emergency is Communication.  Yesterday when the tornado hit, power went out to two counties and over 37,000 homes and businesses.  If you rely on a land line, how do you get help?  Will your loved ones know where you are?

The Federal Emergency Management Association has a wonderful site set up that lists all of the necessities of preparing for an emergency including a communication plan, an emergency mapping route and a meeting point.    For more information on their list, go to:

http://www.fema.gov/blog/2015-04-29/everyone-must-be-prepared-emergencies

As the tornado was passing through, I was about a mile east of the touch down site.  All power lines were out, and there was debris everywhere.  As if the debris and weather weren’t scary enough, for some reason, 90% of the drivers forgot or choose to ignore the rule that if a light is out, you have to treat it as a 4-way stop.  Not only that, but people were doing U-turns on the freeway in the emergency lane to try to avoid traffic. People driving in all lanes, not moving for emergency vehicles, and people driving way too fast for the conditions. I cannot tell you how many near misses I saw on both accounts.

So, in an emergency, it is important to not only be prepared, but to also remember the rules of the road when trying to navigate as this probably caused more damage and injury than the storm itself.