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LEPC: looks at flooding and Red Cross help for disasters

High waters on the Green River cause problems for farmers and at the golf course.

The Local Emergency planning committee met in their regularly scheduled meeting on July 13 at the training room of the Emery County Sheriff's Office.

Chris Gravett was the featured guest speaker from the American Red Cross. The unit that covers Emery County in an emergency is based out of Provo. Any services and supplies will come from there and their response time is 1.5-2 hours depending on the emergency they are responding to and its scope.

The Red Cross has a number of volunteers and they would like to develop a good working relationship with the cities and towns in Emery County.

A discussion was held of where shelters would be located in the county. Local secondary schools are good choices because they have shower facilities and approved lunch rooms. Recently in school board meeting an agreement was signed with the school board to use these facilities should the need arise. It was pointed out that training must take place for those who will operate these shelters. The training will be scheduled for Sept. 28 at 3 p.m. at the Sheriff's Office. Anyone wishing to participate in this training is welcome.

The Red Cross will respond regardless of the scale of the disaster. They will respond to a house fire and displaced people due to flood, fire or other circumstances even if it isn't on a large scale. The Red Cross will supply the shelters with food, water, cots and other emergency items. They also provide mental health counseling for those going through difficult circumstances.

Capt. Kyle Ekker said they will need all the information about the Red Cross services to include in Emery County's Emergency Operations Plan which is being worked on at the current time. The contact information numbers will need to be included in the plan. The number for Gravett is 435-637-5505 and 435-610-1893. The Provo Red Cross office is 801-373-8580.

When a disaster occurs the reporting party will call into the Red Cross office and whoever is on duty will take down the information and an address where they need to respond.

Gravett pointed out a pre-arranged meeting place is good to have set ahead of time for smaller disasters. Senior Citizen centers can be used for smaller disasters. Julie Johansen from Castle Dale City suggested the Children's Justice Center in Castle Dale also because it doesn't get much use.

The CERT teams can be used to operate the shelters, but they will need the training on operating a shelter. Information about the online course will be sent to committee members so they can take that online training before the actual training session in September. You will have to pass a quiz at the end of the training before you can be certified.

Capt. Ekker gave an update about the flooding that took place in the county during the spring and early summer. Projections were the Green River could run as high as 60,000 cfs. The most water it had run in the past was in 1984 when it ran 48,300 cfs. After the high water of 1984 work was done on the banks of the Green. Predictions were it would hold up to 50,000 cfs but after that flooding would occur. There was a lot of water from snowpack and rains. The flooding began in May with the Green River golf course and low lying hay and watermelon fields. Sandbagging efforts held most of the water off the course. New water hazards formed on hole five. Pumps were used to remove water from the course. Fill and rocks were hauled in along the farms and to save some houses near the river. Sandbagging by volunteers also took place at homes along the river. There were worries about the diversion dam holding. An old gravel pit was reopened and fill dirt came from there to build dikes and berms to protect fields as much as possible. Capt. Ekker presented a slide show of pictures of the Green River flooding and how the water tried to enter former channels along the way.

Flooding also took place in Ferron at the Millsite Golf Course and in fields. Orangeville residents sustained damage to yards and basements when the canal failed above the subdivision. FEMA will be coming to the county to evaluate all the flood damage to see if federal funds can be made available to repair damages to infrastructure. These funds do not help private individuals. Capt. Ekker said the county would file as a whole for FEMA funds. The costs to the county for the flooding mitigation are $80,000 to date.

Smith thanked Capt. Ekker and the sheriff's office for all the time and effort put in to mitigate flooding problems in Green River.

The sheriff's office and XTO are working together for a mock disaster drill training in the near future. The health department is setting up a number of trainings. There will be a joint operators training on Aug. 3. They are also working with Carbon County Ambulance to have Life Flight come and do a training and it will be on the afternoon of Aug. 3 after the other training. Those who should attend this include EMS, coalition members, and Medical Reserve Corps are invited.

Smith reported in Green River they have been busy with flooding and also the nuclear power plant training. Melon Days is coming up in September. On Aug. 2 is National Night Out against crime and there will be a melon bust in the park that night.

Capt. Ekker reported the nuclear power plant is still moving along, but it is a slow process.

Chris Bardsley reported a new doctor, Dr. Donaldson, will be joining the Emery Medical Center on Aug. 1. He is originally from Lindon.

Mark Crane from Enviro Care reported they have 15 people on site at the Yellowstone River to clean up the crude oil spill there. It created a big mess that will take several months to clean-up. He said this spill is putting them shorthanded on other clean-up jobs.

Richard Moseley said there are several trainings available he can bring to the county. They cover haz-mat from the basic to the technicians. They can train local LEPC for haz-mat. He said he will bring several emergency response guides to be placed in all emergency vehicles including patrol cars, fire trucks, ambulances, etc. These are great handbooks with information on cleaning up all spills and the best practices for control and clean up.

Moseley said they are glad to help teach decontamination training also.

There were some questions on the new fireworks regulations. You must be 16 years old to purchase and must stay 30 feet away from structures. Some communities are imposing local restrictions due to dry conditions which can lead to fires.

The next LEPC meeting will be on Sept. 28 at 3 p.m. when the Red Cross will present the shelter operators training.

Those present included: Kyle Ekker-Emery County Sheriff's Office; Karen Smith-Green River City; Julie Johansen-Castle Dale City; Chris Bardsley-Emery Medical Center; Robby Donaldson-SEUHD; Martin Wilson-DPS-Division of Emergency Management; Rob Bertola-Summit Gas Gathering; Kisty Childs-Summit Gas Gathering; Bret Hansen-XTO Energy; Christy Addison-XTO Energy; Patsy Stoddard-Emery County Progress; Richard Moseley-DPS-fire marshal; Mark Crane-Enviro Care.




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