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Inside DPS

Protecting Utah

How We Get Ready for Emergencies

Tuesday June 8, 2021

A dispatch from the State Emergency Response Team’s monthly training

Today at DPS, we joined the State Emergency Response Team (SERT) for their monthly training. Today’s meeting was the first time the team met in person since March 2, 2020.

The SERT’s mission is simple to state but a challenge to execute: Prepare state government agencies to respond to disasters. 

They train in the State Emergency Operations Center because we expect members to deploy here to coordinate state response to emergencies. 

Nearly every Utah government agency is represented on the SERT. Some examples include the Department of Environmental Quality, Department of Human Services, Utah Highway Patrol, Utah Corrections, Department of Commerce, UDOT, Utah National Guard, Utah’s Commission on Service and Volunteerism, Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, Department of Technology Services, and Department of Health. DPS’s Division of Emergency Management coordinates.

There are a number of partners outside of state government that provide important coordination as well, including the National Weather Service, Rocky Mountain Power, Dominion Energy, the Red Cross, Civil Air Patrol and Utah Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.

Everyone has something to contribute depending on the disaster.

All disasters start with a local response first. Other levels of government respond if needed. 

So we work to keep agencies ready to respond through briefings, training, exercises and planning.

Sometimes, like in 2020, we get a lot of real-world experience, with the response to COVID-19, the Magna earthquake and the September windstorm.

While incredibly challenging, those emergency experiences help us refine our training,  expertise, and relationships, so your state government can provide the best support possible to local responders.

Today the National Weather Service shared that Utah’s drought situation isn’t improving yet, but we are hoping for hoping for monsoon rains this summer. Please do your part by conserving water. The Department of Agriculture and Food shared that farmers are cutting back on crops but still need to irrigate.

The Utah Department of Human Services and the Red Cross, which lead the state’s mass care plan, provided a briefing on sheltering.

We trained everyone on our software for mission tracking and had everyone practice what they would do to support a mass sheltering operation.

We love what we do because it’s all aimed at keeping Utah safe.

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