County Emergency Manager Gets FEMA/Army Award
Date: September 4, 2012 Contact: Wade Mathews (435) 833-8123
County Emergency Manager Gets FEMA/Army Award
Tooele County Emergency Management Director Kari Sagers recently received the Program Manager’s Award for Superior Service. Representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) traveled from Washington D.C. to Sagers’ office in Tooele to present this prestigious award to her.
The Program Manager’s Award for Superior Service is a joint recognition from Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP) officials in both the U.S. Army and FEMA.
The citation on Sagers’ award reads:
In appreciation of your leadership and contributions as the Tooele County Emergency Management Director for more than 23 years. As a Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program pioneer, you established multi-jurisdictional partnerships that were pivotal to the successful completion of the mission, helped develop program guidance, and were a tireless program advocate. You have been an esteemed mentor to other CSEPP sites, and an invaluable asset to TCEM as well as to the Utah and national CSEP Programs. On this day, August 15, 2012.
The certificate is signed by Carmen J. Spencer, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (Elimination of Chemical Weapons), and by Andrew Mitchell, Director, Technological Hazards Division, Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Sagers says she is humbled by the recognition. “It’s gratifying to know that the sacrifices and efforts I have made over the years haven’t gone unnoticed. I feel that as a brand new emergency management department in the early years of CSEPP we did make a lot of innovations in the developing field of emergency management.”
Throughout her career, Sagers served on many national working groups, boards and committees to establish public protective action procedures, exercise development and evaluation guidelines, and public warning criteria in CSEPP communities.
Sagers also assisted communities in other states with chemical stockpiles by evaluating their emergency operations plans and CSEPP exercises, and writing critical reports. She established a network of friends and associates by working with them on the common goal of protecting the public.
As Tooele County Emergency Management Director, Sagers built the department from its initial inception into a nationally recognized program. She oversaw building of the original Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in the basement of the Tooele County Building, and then later acquired federal and local funding to build the current, state-of-the-art, EOC located at 15 E. 100 South.
Date: March 27, 2012 Contact: Wade Mathews (435) 833-8123
Tooele County Sirens Activated for Utah ShakeOut
Tooele County government is participating in the Utah ShakeOut earthquake drill on April 17th and the Tooele County Commission is encouraging all Tooele County residents to take part as well. Tooele County Emergency Management (TCEM) is activating the siren system to start the exercise and to remind people to participate.
“We want all of our citizens to know what to do if an earthquake occurs so they can be safe. The Utah ShakeOut is an opportunity to practice the Drop, Cover and Hold On safety measures for an earthquake,” Commissioner Bruce Clegg said.
So far 700,000 people statewide have registered on the shakeout.org/Utah website. However, registration is not necessary for participation. Individuals, families, groups, and businesses are encouraged to Drop, Cover, and Hold On for 10 seconds following the sound of the sirens at 10:15 a.m. on April 17th.
The siren message will be brief and is intended to remind people to Drop, Cover, and Hold On, without frightening them. The siren message will be: “This is a drill. This is the Utah ShakeOut earthquake simulation. Drop, Cover, and Hold On. This is only a drill.”
Drop, Cover and Hold On is the phrase to remind people that during an earthquake they should drop to the floor, take cover under a desk, table, or chair, or stand in a doorway with their foot against the door, and hold on until the shaking stops.
“It’s so important that people learn the Drop, Cover, and Hold On phrase, teach it to their family members and other loved ones, and then practice it. The Utah ShakeOut is a great opportunity to learn and practice those critical, life-saving steps. Businesses should also take the opportunity to create or review existing continuity of operations plans. It could be as simple as talking about the three top priorities following an earthquake,” said Kari Sagers, Director of Tooele County Emergency Management.
Besides learning and practicing the protective action for earthquakes (Drop, Cover, and Hold On), people should also review their own individual or family disaster plans.
Information to help people develop plans is available at tcem.org and bereadyutah.gov. Emergency preparedness guidebooks and brochures are available at the Tooele County Emergency Management Building at 15 E. 100 S. in Tooele.
In order to inform citizens of the siren activation, TCEM will also put information on the highway message boards, at tcem.org, and TCEM’s Facebook and Twitter pages. For more information contact the TCEM PIO, Wade Mathews, at (435) 833-8123.
Date: November 1, 2011 Contact: Wade Mathews (435) 833-8100
National EAS Test Scheduled
Tooele County is participating in a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System. Public should be aware that this test will occur, and not panic or be alarmed at the unusual event. Please do not call 911 when hearing this EAS test.
∑ The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will conduct the first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) on
Wednesday, November 9 at 2:00 p.m. (Eastern) and may last up to three and a half minutes.
∑ On November 9, the public will hear a message indicating that "This is a test." The audio message will be the same for both radio and television.
∑ A Nationwide EAS Test will help the federal partners and EAS participants determine the reliability of the system and its effectiveness in notifying the public of emergencies and potential dangers nationally and regionally.
∑ As the Federal, State, tribal, territorial and local governments prepare for and test their capabilities, this event serves as a reminder that everyone should establish an emergency preparedness kit and emergency plan for themselves, their families, communities, and businesses.
∑ Anyone can visit www.Ready.gov for more information about how to prepare for and stay informed about what to do in the event of an actual emergency.
Date: September 7, 2011 Contact: Wade Mathews (435) 833-8123
Sirens Activated in Honor of 9/11 Victims
Tooele County will activate the sirens as a tribute to the people involved in the 9/11 tragedy. The correct time is 9:59, not the time mentioned in the previous release.
Date: June 30, 2011 Contact: Wade Mathews (435) 833-8100
Tooele County Declares State of Emergency
The Tooele County Commission signed a local state of emergency declaration Wednesday June 29, 2011 following record precipitation and snow melt this year. The emergency declaration was then sent to the state Division of Emergency Management. The emergency declaration will be ratified at the next County Commission meeting on Tuesday, July 5, 2011 at 3:00 p.m. in the Commission Chamber.
The County and local governments have incurred extensive costs through their efforts to fight and control the record amounts of water running out of many of the canyons surrounding the Tooele Valley and Rush Valley. The incurred costs exceed available financial resources.
The record flows of water have caused damage to various areas of local infrastructure, as well as to some private properties. That damage includes roads, bridges, and culverts washed out, which received or will require extensive and expensive repairs. Some homes have also been flooded as a result of snow melt run-off or rising groundwater tables.
The County, Tooele City, and Grantsville City deployed thousands of sandbags, and some concrete jersey barriers and rip-rap (large rocks and concrete debris) while trying to protect homes and property. County and city departments have incurred thousands of equipment and man-hours working to control the flood waters and minimize damage.
Emergency Management Director Kari Sagers said the emergency declaration is necessary even though the current situation may seem minor. She said, “The county emergency declaration basically makes us eligible for state assistance if funding is available there, or if other resources are needed such as UDOT or the National Guard. This declaration also makes it possible for us to participate in the FEMA damage assessment process if and when a Presidential Emergency Declaration is made for the state of Utah. But it doesn’t guarantee we’ll get any reimbursement.”
While the spring run-off remains high in some areas of the county and some threat still exists, officials recognize that the county has been very fortunate not to have suffered as much damage as some of the other counties in the state.
Commissioner Bruce Clegg expressed his thanks to everyone who has and continues to help with flood response efforts. “This has been a long fight trying to manage all the water we’ve had. We really appreciate the businesses who have offered us the use of their equipment and other assistance during this flood fight. We also want to thank all the people who have been aware of the water situation and volunteered to help by filling and deploying sandbags and helping clean out ditches and canals,” Clegg said.
Clean-up efforts have not been estimated yet. Those clean-up efforts will mostly include repairs to flood control facilities such as ditches and channels, as well as dirt, sand and gravel removal from those same flood control facilities. Culverts that were washed out of roads will also have to be replaced.
During the more than three-month-long period of snow melt run-off, county officials have directed and diverted most of the water towards recharge zones. The recharge zones are large open fields where the water is contained and allowed to spread out and be absorbed into the aquifer system.
Date: August 31, 2010 Contact: Wade Mathews (435) 833-8100
Weekly Siren Tests to Resume
Tooele County Emergency Management (TCEM) will again conduct weekly audible tests of the Siren Warning System. The tests will occur every Wednesday at 4:00 p.m., beginning on September 8th.
The weekly siren tests were temporarily discontinued during the recent upgrade to the county’s microwave communications system. A lightning strike on one of the mountain peaks where antennas are located also damaged the communication system, limiting siren activation capabilities. With the completion of the microwave system upgrade, and repairs to the mountaintop antenna, siren activation capabilities are now fully operational again.
The audible siren tests consist of a verbal message which says “This is a test. This is a test of the Tooele County Emergency Warning System. This is a test and only a test,” followed by a 30 second “whoop whoop” tone. The verbal message is then repeated a second time after the “whoop whoop” tone. If the sirens are activated at any other time, emergency information will be included with the “whoop whoop” tone.
It’s important for people to listen to the siren messages at all times to make sure the activation is only a test, and not for a real emergency. If someone does not fully hear or understand the message being broadcast from the sirens, they should tune to an Emergency Alert System station, such as KSL 1160 AM, 102.7 FM, or Channel 5 to determine if an emergency is occurring and to receive further emergency instructions. People should not call 911 Dispatch to inquire about siren messages.
The network of 60 sirens and the network of 21 Highway Message Boards make up the Tooele County Outdoor Warning System, meant to alert people who may be working outside on the job, in their yards, or in their fields; as well as those who may be driving on the highways.
Questions regarding the siren system, any of Tooele County’s warning systems, or general emergency preparedness should be directed to the TCEM PIO at (435) 833-8123.
Date: August 2, 2010 Contact: Wade Mathews
Tooele County PIO receives national award, certification
The Tooele County Emergency Management (TCEM) Public Information Officer (PIO) was nationally recognized recently for his contributions to the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP). The PIO, Wade Mathews, was presented with the Program Manager’s Award for Superior Service at the 2010 CSEPP National Workshop in Louisville, Kentucky on Thursday, June 24, 2010.
The joint U.S. Army and FEMA award was presented to Mathews by Carmen J. Spencer, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army, Elimination of Chemical Weapons; and by James R. Kish, Director, Technical Hazards Division, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The award citation reads as follows:
“In appreciation of your outstanding contributions to the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program. In addition to your role as Public Information Officer to Tooele County, Utah, you have served with distinction as a charter member of the CSEPP Public Affairs Integrated Process Team. Your willingness to share your expertise with peers from across the country has resulted in the development of creative innovations in emergency public information and public outreach and education. As editor of the Ready-Set-Act Notebook, you have ensured that the positive lessons learned from CSEPP are effectively communicated to program stakeholders. Your skills have been demonstrated admirably in Tooele County and your countless hours of work on programmatic projects, including co-hosting the CSEPP 20-Year Retrospective in 2009, is greatly appreciated by FEMA, the U.S. Army and the entire CSEP Program.”
“It’s an honor to receive this award. It was a complete surprise. I think there are a lot of other people working hard in CSEPP that are deserving of this recognition as well. I appreciate my bosses and the county commissioners for their support of my involvement in CSEPP,” Mathews said.
Mathews became a charter member of the CSEPP National Public Affairs Integrated Process Team (PA IPT) in November 2000. The Ready, Set, Act Notebook is a product of the PA IPT intended to inform all members of CSEPP at each of the chemical storage and demilitarization sites around the country about public outreach and education efforts. It is published and distributed in conjunction with PA IPT meetings.
Hired in August 2000, Mathews has worked for TCEM, and has been involved with CSEPP, for 10 years. Additionally, Mathews has been called upon multiple times the past 10 years to evaluate CSEPP exercises at the other sites around the country.
Unrelated to the Superior Service Award, Mathews recently completed all the requirements for the Master Exercise Practitioner (MEP) certification. The Master Exercise Practitioner Program (MEPP) is a title certification program that awards the recipient the right to place the title “MEP” after their name.
MEPP is a program developed and conducted by FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute. The foundation for all MEPP classroom activities and proficiency demonstrations is the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program.
The MEPP course consisted of three weeks of classroom instruction and activities and two outside-classroom, individual, proficiency demonstrations. One demonstration involved designing and conducting a Tabletop Exercise and the other involved designing a Functional Exercise.
The MEPP aims to establish a level of professional achievement and recognition for people charged with conducting emergency management exercise programs; to establish performance requirements for exercise program managers; to enable graduates to master the essentials of exercise program management; and to improve the capability of communities to assess and improve their response and recovery capabilities for emergencies of all sizes.
Mathews completed the MEPP on July 22, 2010 at the National Incident Management System Support Center in Somerset, Kentucky. The Support Center was the location for all of the classroom portions of the program. He was one of approximately 50 graduates from around the country. This MEPP offering was the 14th conducted since its inception in 2004.
Date: February 17, 2009 Contact: Wade Mathews
Utah Emergency Management Association honors Tooele County employee with prestigious award
The deputy director of Tooele County Emergency Management, Marilyn Candelaria, recently received a rare and distinguished award from the Utah Emergency Management Association (UEMA). During the 2009 annual UEMA conference, outgoing president, Dustin Lewis, presented Candelaria with the 2009 UEMA Member of the Year Award.
Lewis says there are no specific criteria for the award, but once Candelaria was nominated it was obvious she deserved the award. Lewis says, “Marilyn has been one of the stalwarts in the last decade, always willing to help new and seasoned emergency managers. She has a wealth of passion for emergency management. Once she was nominated, it was a unanimous decision by the board. They really think highly of Marilyn.”
Bob Fowler, UEMA Treasurer, nominated Candelaria. In an email to the UEMA Board Fowler said, “Marilyn Candelaria is someone we might consider. She’s very active in the design of the Tooele County’s portion of the CSEPP exercise. She devotes much time and energy into testing the local schools and emergency responders in the annual exercise.”
“Marilyn includes the Salt Lake County Victim Care portion in her scenarios. That benefits my local CSEPP hospitals. She considers an all hazards response during the exercise. She is very professional and serves as the Tooele County deputy emergency manager. Tooele County has supported UEMA since its inception,” Fowler wrote.
Candelaria has worked for Tooele County Emergency Management for the past 18 years as the Deputy Director and the CSEPP Program Manager for Tooele County. Candelaria says she was surprised by the award. “It was a very nice honor, one I didn’t expect. It’s always gratifying to be recognized by your peers, because they’re the ones that know what you really do. They have an appreciation for the work you’ve done,” she says.
Candelaria added, “It’s wonderful working with such a great staff and director. I am proud of the things that we’ve accomplished in Emergency Management during the 18 years I’ve been a part of it. It’s also been very rewarding working with the school district and making a difference in the community.”
Tooele County Emergency Management Director, Kari Sagers, says she’s glad Candelaria received this honor. “It’s certainly overdue. Marilyn’s been a real critical part of our department, working very hard to help it grow and to serve the community. She’s a very hard worker and comes up with great ideas. She always follows through to see that her projects are completed. I’m very happy that she is finally being recognized for her dedication and hard work in the field of emergency management,” Sagers says.
Lewis says Candelaria received the award for several reasons. “The Board wanted to reward her for the accomplishments she’s had not only in the past year but for the past several years, not only in Tooele County but for the rest of state as well.”
December 11, 2008 Contact: Wade Mathews
County Calendar Coming Soon
The 2009 Tooele County Emergency Preparedness Calendar, much anticipated by many residents, is expected to be delivered by the middle of the week. Every household and post office box within Tooele County will receive a calendar in the mail by week’s end. Following delivery by mail, residents desiring additional copies can pick them up at the County Building, city offices, the Chemical Stockpile Outreach Office, and public libraries.
The Emergency Preparedness Calendar is intended as an outreach product to help people in Tooele County become better prepared for emergencies and disasters of all kinds. It contains preparedness information about the county’s biggest risk for widespread disaster and damage, earthquakes. It also has information about family disaster plans and disaster supply kits, preparing for an evacuation or shelter-in-place order, water storage, and power outages, among other things.
New in the 2009 Calendar is a section regarding the Tooele County Home Emergency Status Program. It has two, double-sided, perforated pages to use in case of a disaster situation in Tooele County. Following a disaster, people in homes or businesses should tear out and place the appropriate colored sheet in a front window so that emergency responders or neighborhood captains can quickly assess the situation in any given area.
Tooele County Emergency Management is excited to present this great emergency preparedness resource, free of charge, to every household in Tooele County. Emergency Manager Director, Kari Sagers, says, “I know that everyone will enjoy the beautiful pictures of Tooele County contained in the calendar, but I hope people will recognize it for its invaluable emergency preparedness information as well.” The calendar is funded by the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program.
January 8, 2008 Contact: Wade Mathews
Emergency Management recently completed the first phase of a major radio
system upgrade. Every emergency responder in Tooele County including law
enforcement officers, firefighters, and EMS technicians received new
handheld and mobile radios.
The radio equipment change out was necessary because the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reorganized the 800 MHz bandwidth. Previously, commercial band use, such as cell phone frequencies, was mixed in with public safety frequencies. The FCC is eliminating the interference this caused.
The radio equipment change out was necessary because the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reorganized the 800 MHz bandwidth. Previously, commercial band use, such as cell phone frequencies, was mixed in with public safety frequencies. The FCC is eliminating the interference this caused.
The national bandwidth reorganization process started three years ago, but the Tooele County equipment change out began in July 2007 and was completed at the end of November 2007. The reorganization required Tooele County responders to get new radios. Tooele County exchanged its existing EF Johnson radios with Motorola radios that matched the new frequencies on the protected portion of the 800 MHz bandwidth.
The entire change out project, including new equipment and installation, was paid for by Sprint/Nextel. Tooele County decided to upgrade some additional equipment not covered by the FCC agreement at a cost of $61,000.00.
The equipment change out has had an added benefit. Tooele County Emergency Management (TCEM) Communications Manager Dave Williams said, “The users say they like the new Motorola radios better and they can talk in places they couldn’t before. So the coverage seems to be improved.”
The second phase of the radio system upgrade involves replacing some of the 800 MHz infrastructure in Tooele County, such as repeaters and other equipment at the mountaintop sites. However, that work will be seamless to the users. They won’t notice any shutdowns. The infrastructure upgrade will begin in February and be completed in about a year.
About the radio exchange Williams said, “It’s been a long process but just about everybody involved in the change out has been patient and courteous with the contracted radio installers.”
One of those installers, Andy Tanner, was since hired by Tooele County as a Communications Technician and Logistics Coordinator. He will work with Williams and other employees of Tooele County Emergency Management.
Tanner owned his own communications business for five years and worked for MG Telecomm for about 12 years. He said, “I’m excited to be working for Tooele County now. I’ve known the people at Emergency Management for a long time, and I’m proud to be a part of their team.”
Tanner’s duties include assisting Williams in maintaining the microwave and 800 MHz communications systems, backup power generators, and communication towers and buildings. He’ll also continue handling all mobile and base station radio installations in new vehicles and buildings. As the Logistics Coordinator Tanner will liaison with fire and police departments for maintaining county-issued vehicles, decontamination trailers, and personal protective equipment.
Date: July 3, 2007 Contact: Wade Mathews
Tooele County Commissioners and Emergency Managers participated in the annual Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP) National Workshop. Commissioners Colleen Johnson and Bruce Clegg joined Tooele County Emergency Management's Director Kari Sagers, Deputy Director Marilyn Candelaria, Planner Marianne Rutishauser Andrus, Logistics Coordinator Tony Crites, Network Administrator and Hazard Analyst Stephen Smith, and Public Information Officer Wade Mathews at the workshop last week in Chicago.
The workshop provided interactive training, program updates, counterpart and community caucuses, and networking opportunities for people from the seven remaining chemical stockpile sites around the country. Facilitation of the annual workshops is handled jointly by the U.S. Army and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Both Sagers and Candelaria were on the Workshop Planning Committee this year.
Commissioner Clegg said the workshop was a great learning and teaching opportunity for the attendees from Tooele County. "I noticed that people from the other CSEPP sites around the country recognize the leadership, expertise and professionalism of Tooele County‚€™s and Deseret Chemical Depot's employees. They've been setting the pace for chemical weapons destruction and emergency preparedness," Clegg said. "I could see the pain of departure as the program starts to wind down with all of our GB and VX nerve agent destroyed and 99 percent of the risk gone."
Senior managers from the Army marked the completion of 45 percent destruction of the national chemical weapons stockpile in compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention. Thanks to Deseret Chemical Depot demilitarization operations which contributed more than 60 percent of the total required, the U.S. reached that milestone ahead of the December 31, 2007 deadline. Chemical weapons demilitarization sites in Edgewood, Maryland; Pine Bluff, Arkansas; Anniston, Alabama; Newport, Indiana; Umatilla, Oregon; and Johnston Atoll, in the Pacific Ocean also contributed to the 45 percent destruction total.
Commissioner Clegg recognized the value CSEPP has provided Tooele County and the nation. "America had a stockpile of the worst chemicals known to man and this program was put into place to keep its citizens safe during the storage and destruction of those chemicals. Tooele County workers have done a great job, as their patriotic duty, eliminating the weapons stockpile," Clegg said. "They need to be congratulated for a job well done."
Workshop participants benefited from a keynote presentation titled "Ground Truth: The Importance of Evidence-based Disaster Management" by Dr. Erik Auf der Heide. Dr. Aufder Heide discussed his observations from studies following several major disasters. He offered seven incorrect assumptions often made in emergency management planning.
First, emergency responders, local and distant, will often come without being requested or needed. Second, most initial search and rescue operations are conducted by survivors and witnesses, rather than professional responders. Third, disaster victims are likely to bypass field triage, treatment and decontamination points and go straight to hospitals for care. Fourth, most injured people are transported by means other than ambulances.
Fifth, most victims are taken to the closest or most familiar hospitals, rather than the most capable. Sixth, hospitals are often first notified of a disaster by arriving casualties and the media rather than by emergency responders. Seventh, people with minor injuries often arrive at hospitals first, before the more seriously injured victims. Emergency managers discussed the implications of those observations and incorrect assumptions in relation to local plans, procedures, and protocols in an effort to better respond in large-scale disasters.
Commissioner Clegg said he doesn't think it's a fallacy that Tooele County is in the forefront of preparedness. "We have gained a lot from being a part of CSEPP. It has taught us great lessons on handling tremendous problems; so as far as handling major disasters in the future, we have the equipment, the training, the know-how, and the people with a get-it-done attitude to keep people in our county safer," he said.
Several training breakout sessions were offered during the workshop. The Commissioners and local emergency managers attended as many as they could, as well as presented information in others. Crites and Mathews offered a session on incorporating the National Incident Management System components in disaster drills and exercises. Rutishauser Andrus, who chairs a national protective action work group, conducted a session which trained workshop participants when to evacuate and the proper way to shelter-in-place for chemical or hazardous materials incidents. Mathews contributed to a session for public affairs outreach efforts during chemical stockpile closeout procedures.
Other breakout sessions includedresource training and best practices, automation for hazard analysis, new technologies in crisis communication, disaster mortuary operations, emergency medical response to disaster and recovery, Joint Information Center training, and financial training for emergency management budgets and cost estimates.
Another highlight of the workshop was hearing from Congressional Medal of Honor winner, Allen James Lynch. Mr. Lynch, a Vietnam War veteran, spoke on the importance of recognizing the sacrifice of our troops and their families, and of offering continued support throughout their deployments.
This was the last annual CSEPP workshop. Beginning in 2009, the workshops will be bi-annual due to the reduced risk at each of the chemical stockpile sites, and the complete destruction of the stockpiles and resultant closure of sites in Edgewood, Maryland and Newport, Indiana. The 2009 Bi-annual CSEPP National Workshop will be held in Salt Lake City.
Date: August 11, 2005 Contact: Wade Mathews
Date: August 8, 2005 Contact: Wade Mathews
Date: July 6, 2005 Contact: Wade Mathews
Date: June 9, 2005 Contact: Wade Mathews
Date: February 16, 2005 Contact: Wade Mathews
Date: Sept. 14, 2004 Contact: Wade Mathews
Date: November 25, 2003 Contact: Wade Mathews
Date: Sept. 4, 2003 Contact: Wade Mathews
Annual Exercise Just Around the Corner
Tooele emergency responders will soon be pulling out the decontamination trailers and putting on their personal protective equipment. They’ll be participating in the annual Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program’s (CSEPP) full-scale exercise scheduled for Wed, Sept. 10. The exercise will run most of the day.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - September 2, 2003
Contact: David Toronto 801-524-4377
Officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service office in Salt Lake City, Utah, have designated Tooele County as a StormReady county. During a presentation in the Tooele County Courthouse today representatives from the National Weather Service commended the county’s efforts to enhance its hazardous weather operations. NOAA is part of the Department of Commerce.
The StormReady program gives communities the skills and education needed to survive severe weather - before and during the event. StormReady helps community leaders and emergency managers strengthen their local hazardous weather operations by ensuring that they have the tools needed to receive life saving National Weather Service warnings in the quickest time possible.
“The National Weather Service recognized Tooele County for the wide variety of disaster resistant projects that help prepare their citizens and emergency responders for severe weather and flood threats as well as significant winter weather,” said Salt Lake City NWS Weather Forecast Office Meteorologist in Charge, Larry Dunn. “Tooele County is the first jurisdiction in the state of Utah to receive this formal certification. The StormReady certification for Tooele County will be in effect for three years, until the summer of 2006.”
Dunn said Tooele County gets its share of severe weather and potential flash flooding storms in the summer months, but also gets winter storms that cause problems for the residents of the county, especially when “lake effect”snow moves south into the Tooele Valley impacting travel in and out of the area.
Dunn noted how the StormReady program helped saved dozens of lives recently in Van Wert, Ohio. “The community met StormReady certification requirements just 11 months before a November 10, 2002 tornado devastated parts of the town. A Van Wert movie theater manager ushered 50 moviegoers to safety after hearing a NWS tornado warning over a special StormReady program emergency radio. The tornado destroyed the building, tossing cars into the front seats where kids and parents were seated moments before,” said Dunn. “Without StormReady the story could have been much different,” Dunn added.
“More than 40,000 people live in Tooele County and they, along with those who visit and travel through the county, will benefit from the efforts of the county and the National Weather Service to warn those who might be in harm’s way during any severe or winter weather event,” said David Toronto, Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the NWS office in Salt Lake. “StormReady is a great example of federal, state, and local governments working together to prepare counties and communities for all kinds of severe weather” Toronto added.
Thanks to cooperative efforts between Tooele County and the National Weather Service, NOAA Weather Radio covers just about the entire county, and storm warnings are broadcast to receivers throughout the area. NOAA Weather Radio receivers have been placed in public access buildings, emergency communication centers, as well as many individual residences throughout the county. Local broadcasts of storm warnings are broadcast over NOAA Weather Radio as well as commercial radio and television using the Emergency Alert System, to provide storm information that can save lives and protect property. NWS officials said Tooele County is leading the way in Utah, with a commitment to emergency communication, preparedness, and severe weather education.
“The StormReady program provides counties and communities with clear cut weather warning and preparedness advice through a partnership between the National Weather Service and emergency managers,” said Kari Sagers, Tooele County Emergency Management Director. “The StormReady program is a great approach to help communities develop systems and plans to handle local severe weather in any season, and strengthen cooperative ties with the National Weather Service. We are excited to be recognized for our readiness capabilities and proud to be associated with the NWS as StormReady partners.”
NOAA’s National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. National Weather Service operates the most advanced weather and flood warning and forecast system in the world, helping to protect lives and property and enhance the national economy.
The Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources.
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Date: July 8, 2003 Contact: Wade Mathews (435) 833-8100
Tooele Emergency Manager Receives National Recognition
Mobile, AL- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) acknowledged the efforts of Tooele County Emergency Management Director, Kari Sagers with an award at the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP) 2003 Annual Conference. Sagers was privileged to receive her award before a group of other emergency managers and first responders from the eight chemical stockpile sites around the country.
Sagers said, “I was so surprised to receive this award. It means a lot to me to be recognized by my peers for the work involved in running an emergency management department.” The Tooele County Commission appointed Sagers as department director at the inception of Tooele County Emergency Management more than 12 years ago.
Craig Conklin, FEMA, and Dennis Legal, US Army, presented the award to Sagers at the conference in Mobile, Alabama on Tuesday, June 24th. The FEMA award carried the inscription: “Ms. Kari Sagers---In appreciation for outstanding contributions to the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Community. Your leadership, professionalism, and advocacy for chemical emergency preparedness with Congress and the media have greatly improved public safety. (Signed) Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary, Emergency Preparedness and Response”
Carrying responsibility for CSEP Program management in Tooele County, Sagers has been called upon to testify before Congress in chemical demilitarization hearings, has continually sought federal funding to raise the county’s level of preparedness, and has served as a sentinel for the safety of the residents in Tooele County.
Under Sagers’ direction, Tooele County has come to be known as one of the best prepared counties in the state for a natural or technological disaster. Other municipalities look to Sagers as a good example of an effective emergency management director.
Tooele County Emergency Management, with its Emergency Operations Center, communications capabilities, warning systems, contingency plans, and other emergency preparedness measures, is often the focus of tours and studies by other jurisdiction leaders seeking to set up their own emergency management departments.
Date: November 18, 2002 Contact: Wade Mathews (435) 833-8100
Tooele County Siren System Gets Upgrade
Tooele- Emergency managers will be able to reach more people with the potentially life-saving “whoop-whoop” tone of the sirens. Tooele County Emergency Management (TCEM) is upgrading its outdoor warning system by adding 23 new sirens. Some of the new sirens will be put in areas not covered by the current system. By this winter people living in or near Grantsville, Stansbury, Erda, and Pine Canyon should be able to hear potential emergency messages sent through the sirens. Siren coverage will also be increased in Tooele City and Rush Valley and in Cedar Valley in Utah County.
Kari Sagers, director of TCEM, said, “The coverage of the original siren system, with 37 sirens, only met minimum requirements at the time it was installed in 1994. With the population growth and increased recreational use in the county, we felt it was necessary to expand our emergency notification capabilities throughout the Tooele and Rush Valleys.”
The sirens are mounted on top of a 45-foot high pole. They consist of the sound speakers, solar panels and radio controls. John Michaelson, one of the technicians leading the siren project, said, “All of the work involved in siren site acquisition has been worth it, knowing that the community will be a safer place.”
The cost of upgrading the warning system is approximately $1.2 million. Sagers said, “Although the notification system is funded through the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP), we are pleased that Tooele County benefits by having an all-hazard warning system for the major population areas.”
Repairing and maintaining the siren system can be very costly. To discourage vandalism, there is a penalty of up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Tooele County also offers a $1,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of anyone causing damage to the equipment.
For further information regarding the siren system, or if you have other emergency preparedness questions, call TCEM at 843-3260.
Date: July 8, 2002 Contact: Wade Mathews (435) 833-8100
Tooele County Emergency Planner Honored with Award
Tooele- Marianne Rutishauser, the emergency planner at Tooele County Emergency Management, was recently recognized for her efforts on a national work group. On June 25th, she received an award at the 2002 Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP) National Conference held in Lexington, Kentucky.
For the last 2 years Rutishauser has chaired the Shelter-In-Place Work Group, made up of experts, outlining the details of the protective action known as sheltering-in-place. She put in long hours in meetings and on the phone organizing and pushing the work group to accomplish its goals.
Through the Shelter-In-Place Work Group’s efforts, guidelines have been written to help emergency managers in communities around the eight chemical stockpiles know when to begin and end the shelter-in-place protective action in the unlikely event of a chemical emergency.
Mr. Craig Conklin, Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Technological Division, and Mr. Daniel Civis, FEMA’s Chief of the Chemical Preparedness Branch, presented the award to Rutishauser. She was overwhelmed with surprise, and accepted the award on behalf of all who worked hard on bringing the shelter-in-place project to fruition. Rutishauser said, “The project was a tremendous challenge, but very exciting and personally rewarding.”
The inscription on the award says, “In appreciation for outstanding contributions to the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Community. Your hard work, determination, and selfless service led the way to cutting-edge Shelter-in-Place protective action options.”
Rutishauser has been at Tooele County Emergency Management for 11 1/2 years. Her work includes writing the Tooele County Emergency Operations Plan, a huge book of steps and guidelines for various contingencies that could hit the county, including everything from a chemical accident to an earthquake. It has been applauded by FEMA as one of the most comprehensive and professional All-Hazard Emergency Operations Plans seen in the last 25 years.
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