City shakes things up during 2013 ShakeOut

City shakes things up during 2013 ShakeOut
Posted on 05/04/2013

Did you feel the big earthquake that hit Utah in April? We didn’t either—probably because it didn’t happen—but we definitely practiced for it!

On April 17 through April 20, nearly one million people around Utah participated in the 2013 Great Utah ShakeOut. Government agencies, businesses, schools, religious organizations, families and friends all took the opportunity to prepare themselves a little more for a possible large-scale earthquake, and Cottonwood Heights was no different.

Last year, the city participated in ShakeOut by setting up a mock Emergency Operations Center and running an hours-long drill with the city council and staff as well as our county and state partners. This year, the city teamed up with the Utah Red Cross to open an emergency shelter simulation at the Cottonwood Heights Recreation Center on April 18.

The day-long exercise served a variety of functions. It allowed local residents to become trained on how to set up and staff a Red Cross shelter. It provided a way for the city to test its mobile command unit as well as the amateur radio network on which we depend for emergency communications. It gave nearly 170 students and community members to see what the inside of a disaster shelter looks and feels like. And it gave volunteers such as Southern Baptist Disaster Relief a chance to practice their skills and help the emergency preparedness effort by serving warm meals to shelter staff.

It also helped city leaders test our emergency plan and find ways in which to improve. The lessons learned in drills like the ShakeOut will help the city to respond effectively should we ever face an emergency situation in Cottonwood Heights.

We are grateful for the community partners that made this event possible: Utah Red Cross, Cottonwood Heights Amateur Radio, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief and, of course, the community volunteers. Thank you for your help!