Skip to content

Thursday July 25, 2024 Salt Lake City, UT

The News Room


How We Get Ready for Emergencies

Inside DPS
Protecting Utah
June 8, 2021

Read the Full Feature

I wasn’t ready: What I learned during the 1994 Northridge Earthquake

January 17, 2020

Do you have a story to share that can help others prepare? 4:30 a.m. I was asleep. But suddenly, I was awake. Lying in my bed and pulling a blanket over my head, as my room was shaken back and forth, as if a garbage truck were continuously ramming the house. I would have guessed […]

A New Year’s resolution you can keep any time of year

January 1, 2020

You can resolve to be ready for emergencies. 2020 is a great year to have clear vision, vision for the future. For us, the clearest vision for the future is one where all Utahns are resilient, or able to bounce back from disaster. The only way to bounce back from disaster is to take action […]

How does government plan for an earthquake?

September 4, 2019

Let’s start by talking about transportation After an earthquake… Where do you land airplanes with relief supplies and equipment? Ideally, Salt Lake City International Airport. But… that airport is in a high liquefaction zone. What if it’s not available? Hill Air Force Base is close, and its location is less susceptible to liquefaction.But… any supplies […]

Remembering our friend, Battalion Chief Matthew Burchett

August 13, 2019

One year ago today, the State of Utah received devastating news: One of our state’s firefighters, who had deployed to California to assist during their terrible fire season, had been killed in the line of duty while fighting the Mendocino Complex Fire. Our collective breaths stopped. We couldn’t believe it. Our friend, Draper Battalion Chief […]

What do the California earthquakes mean for Utah? FAQ post

July 6, 2019

On July 4, 2019, a magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck the area of Ridgecrest, California. There was a 5 percent chance that a larger earthquake could happen. On July 5, a magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck, showing that small percentages can still come to pass. These earthquakes are causing Utahns to ask what this means for Utahns. […]

How bad would an earthquake be at my house?

April 26, 2019

We’ve received a lot of questions related to the earthquakes in Bluffdale in February and March. If you have a question, you can text it to 43362. If you’d like earthquake preparedness information delivered to your cell phone, text UtahQuake to 43362 How bad will an earthquake be? It’s a long answer with a number […]

Don’t live in a myth, get the flood facts

March 7, 2019

March is Flood Safety Awareness Month Contact: Joe DoughertyPublic information officerDPS – Division of Emergency Managementjdougherty@utah.gov801-538-3738 With spring just around the corner, and floods threatening southern Utah, Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert has declared March as Flood Safety Awareness Month (download the declaration here). This is a chance to dispel some of the myths about […]

What if you can’t drop, cover and hold in an earthquake?

February 18, 2019

With just two months to go until the annual Great Utah ShakeOut earthquake drill, we wanted to address two of the questions we get most often: Why do you drop, cover and hold on? And what if you can’t? Why drop, cover and hold on? One of the myths about earthquakes is that they cause […]

This is the most common natural disaster

February 8, 2019

This article is part of our #UtahHazards411 series, to help Utahns understand what hazards exist and why they need to prepare for them. Our Division of Emergency Management recently conducted a Twitter poll that asked followers this question: What is the most common hazard that becomes a natural disaster? Here are the poll results with […]

Public comment open on 2019 Utah State Hazard Mitigation Plan

February 4, 2019

Public comment on the plan is open until March 6, 2019. This is part of our ongoing series of posts about natural hazards in Utah and what you need to know about them. Join the conversation on social media with the hashtag #UtahHazards411. The State of Utah Hazard Mitigation Plan 2019 update is required to […]

Doing good in disasters: The best way to donate

January 15, 2019

This is part of an occasional series to help Utahns make the best decisions when disaster strikes. Join the conversation on social media with the hashtag #DoingGoodInDisasters. It happens all the time And it happens because we are good people with good intentions. But imagine that a disaster hits a far-off place, such as Texas […]

Planning for disaster: Utah’s Disaster Recovery Restricted Account

January 11, 2019

In 2007, the Utah Legislature created the Disaster Recovery Restricted Account, or DRRA, to help protect state agency budgets should they have unexpected expenses while responding to an emergency. The fund also allows Utah to cover expenses up front for agents of the state deploying on our behalf. If the Utah Division of Emergency Management […]

ShakeOut, don’t Freak Out in 2019

January 8, 2019

Each year, about 1 million Utahns practice what to do in an earthquake by joining our statewide earthquake drill. What will you do with 99 days? We get it. Sometimes, it doesn’t seem like Utah is going to have the devastating earthquake that we’ve been talking about for years. Sometimes, it seems like people have […]

What can Utah learn from the Alaska quake?

December 13, 2018

Alaska showed its resilience in the face of a 7.0 earthquake.  Like many, we feared the worst when we heard that a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck near the city of Anchorage, Alaska, Nov. 30. But as the hours ticked by, we received no reports of fatalities and only few injuries. The Verge reports how Alaska’s […]

Earthquake preparedness is good at any time

October 18, 2018

Though the global ShakeOut earthquake drill is today, Utah’s official day in in April. Here’s why. When Utah signed onto the Great ShakeOut movement in 2010 with plans to hold our first drill in 2012, we knew we were doing something a little bit different. California, where the movement was born in 2008, has always […]

Water after fire isn’t always a good thing

October 16, 2018

Picture this scenario. It’s all too real: Utah’s past hot and dry summers have led to active wildfire seasons. Though we have lost many homes, many homes and businesses have survived wildfires due to heroic firefighting efforts, wise planning and some great luck. Imagine the horror many face when it turns out the wildfire burn […]

DEM Statement: The passing of Draper Battalion Chief Matt Burchett

August 14, 2018

With the rest of Utah, the Division of Emergency Management is mourning the loss of Draper Battalion Chief Matt Burchett. An expert wildland firefighter, Matt deployed to California earlier this month to support a state in need. He was a leader of one of the two Utah task forces deployed under the Emergency Management Assistance […]

Disaster closeout: Laub Dam failure 2012

June 29, 2018

SANTA CLARA — The aged Laub Dam, little more than 20 feet high, likely never prompted much thought in the community before Sept. 11, 2012. The earthen structure provided flood control and served as a walkway to get from nearby neighborhoods to Snow Canyon Middle and High schools, as well as a park. More than three […]

ShakeOut, Don’t Freak Out, to Prepare for an Earthquake

April 18, 2018

The ShakeOut is back. In 2012, Utah embarked on an earthquake preparedness campaign to help Utahns get ready for the big one. Following the example of California and other states, Utah joined the ShakeOut movement. Since that time, millions of people have participated in the Great Utah ShakeOut, the only statewide emergency drill in Utah. […]

Utah Firefighters Returning Home from California Wildfires

December 20, 2017

SALT LAKE CITY — They’ll be home for Christmas, and not just in their dreams. Most of the 100-plus firefighters deployed to California this month to battle the Lilac and Thomas fires are now on their way home and all should arrive before Christmas. For the most recent Thomas Fire, burning in Ventura and Santa […]

News release – Utah Fire Agencies Plan to Deploy to Fight California Wildfires

December 6, 2017

SALT LAKE CITY — Dozens of firefighters from various Utah fire agencies are deploying to Southern California to help with firefighting in some of the recent devastating fires. The personnel are deploying under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), a system of state-to-state mutual aid. Their deployment is expected to last 14 days. Northern Utah […]

News release: Utah Fire Agencies to Deploy Saturday to California to Support Firefighting Efforts

October 13, 2017

UPDATE: This version fixes a couple of errors in jurisdictions from the version that was emailed to the news media. Also, we have added Pleasant Grove, Layton and Uintah City as agencies that are deploying to California for a new total of 32 engines. Also, see the video of the group deploying below or here […]

News release: President Signs Disaster Declaration for Utah

April 21, 2017

Federal aid will cover 75 percent of eligible damages to public infrastructure For immediate release April 21, 2017 Contact: Joe Dougherty, public information officer Utah Division of Emergency Management Fact sheets 4311 Declaration   Public Assistance Process   Public Assistance Fact Sheet SALT LAKE CITY – Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert has received confirmation […]

News release – Gov. Herbert declares “State of Emergency” for February Flooding

March 31, 2017

UPDATE 4/21/17: Utah requested and received a major disaster declaration from the president. Legal document in place for FEMA to begin review process of $6.7 million in estimated infrastructure damages For immediate releaseMarch 31, 2017 SALT LAKE CITY — Governor Gary R. Herbert has issued an executive order declaring a “State of Emergency” in Utah […]

News release: Flood Safety Awareness Week 2017

March 14, 2017

UPDATE 6/6/17: We’ve added that Utah has now had seven river fatalities and a “water watcher” safety tip.UPDATE 5/11/17: The first line has been updated to reflect Utah’s current disaster declaration count. Helping you help others get ready for floods SALT LAKE CITY — Flooding is the most common weather-related natural disaster. In Utah, ten of the […]

Great Utah ShakeOut Reaches 1 Million Participants

August 5, 2016

By Joe Dougherty We’ve been waiting for this for a long time. Since 2011, I’ve been dreaming of the day we could declare that 1 million people had participated in our annual earthquake drill. We’ve gotten so close, and now that day is here. A record-breaking 1,004,593 Utahns participated this year! Gov. Gary Herbert challenged Utah […]