We live in a time when it is quite common to witness the devastation around the world from hurricanes, tornados, tsunamis and earthquakes on the nightly news. To many, it seems as if these disasters are becoming more frequent.
On Tuesday, April 17, people all over Utah were able to see how prepared they would be if an earthquake were to rock our great state. Over 930,000 participants across the state geared up for The Great Utah Shake Out, Utah’s biggest earthquake drill ever. To coordinate the drill, Morgan City utilized their City Watch Reverse 911 phone system. Almost 1,600 homes were called with approximately 600 live answers. The reverse alarm is based on land lines only, as of right now the technology is not set up to call those using only cell phones. This phone system asked citizens to listen for the alarm and call in if they were able to hear it.
The city’s alarm sounded at precisely 10:30 am from the Morgan Fire station. Citywide only 12 people responded. Based on the low response rate, it may be time for Morgan to invest in a louder alarm system. Anecdotally, reports from nearby areas as proximate as the post office claimed the sirens could not be heard.
Morgan schools took advantage of this great opportunity and participated in the earthquake drill while also adding an ensuing fire drill onto it. As they heard the alarms simulating the big rumble, students promptly moved under their desks and waited for further instructions. For purposes of this drill, the earthquake set off a fire, and this resulted in triggering the fire alarm systems. Students filed outside to previously designated meeting locations for each class. This orderly process enabled teachers to quickly conduct a headcount while school officials did a sweep of the building. Mr. Terry Allen, Vice Principal of Morgan Middle School was very impressed with the students and staff. He indicated that the drill went very smoothly and the students all took it very seriously.
Although there were some concerns over how the children would react to such a drill, the atmosphere during and after was calm.
Should a disaster actually happen, schools will attempt to contact parents and let them know what to do. For most disasters, Morgan Elementary students will head to Wilkinson Construction which is located at 1200 E. 100 S. Parents are encouraged not to drive down to the schools so as to keep the roadways open for emergency personnel.
If a natural disaster were to occur for Morgan residents, it is possible that we would be cut off from the Wasatch Front for many days—if not weeks. Where possible, Red Cross stations would be set in Morgan. Although the limited availability of supplies in these situations reinforces the need for individuals to do their part. Local EMT, Terry Turner states that “people ought to come up with a plan in case of disaster, and come up with an emergency kit and put in it stuff that you are actually going to use. Please make sure it has medications and that they are current.”
It is likely that residents will need more than a 72 hour kit should a prolonged situation prevent people from getting in or out of Morgan for an extended time.
On Tuesday, most citizens were prepared and knew the drill was coming. We knew to listen for the sound of the citywide emergency alarm and knew what it meant. If the alarm were to sound in case of a true emergency, citizens can tune into our local Morgan radio station 530 AM to hear emergency updates.
For those wishing to learn more about what they can do in an emergency situation, a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) class will be taught at the Morgan Fire station later this month. This four week class runs from April 25 to May 19. Classes are on Wednesdays from 6-9 pm and Saturdays from 7-11 am. Registration is only $25. During this class, many great training areas will be covered. The curriculum includes two first aid courses, a fire course, a class on making sure that our homes are safe (such as how to shut off gas and water), how to set up communications as well as a course on terrorism. For more information, or to sign up, contact Terry Turner at 801-845-4048.