The Great Utah ShakeOut 2012
Dr. Chris Crnich
UDAF Homeland Security
This month in Utah is a special opportunity to prepare for earthquake emergencies as it is Earthquake Awareness Month. Here at the Department of Agriculture and Food we feel our preparation for a disaster is of major importance for our recovery from a disaster and is directly related to the safety, security, and restoration of our quality of agricultural life that would be of great benefit to our state's agricultural production for community and state consumers of agricultural food and fiber products. Our department staff joined more than 940,000 other Utahn's during the Great Utah ShakeOut 2012 week of 17 – 19 April 2012, to actually practice emergency preparedness procedures of what we have been preaching. Each of our staff participated in a Drop, Cover, Hold-on exercise in the department building at the initiation of the exercise on Tuesday, 17 April 2012 at 10:15 AM and each individual member was invited to consider their individual office space, look at objects in their work area that may be a hazard, and locate a safe area for personal protection in preparation for an earthquake. Each staff member was encouraged to review their own personal preparedness and their family preparedness as well. By having a staff that is prepared for a catastrophic disaster, such as an earthquake, we will be more able to assist in the recovery of all the aspects of our community's self-reliance, comforts, and life styles.
The effects of a major disaster could be far reaching. To enable our state government to assist as many individuals and groups as possible, the Department also practiced with the State Emergency Operations Center to coordinate agricultural requests that may come to the state offices for resources necessary for emergency response. Things such as food, water, animal sheltering, animal disease surveillance, food safety inspections, animal food and water supplies, veterinary care for animal victims of a disaster, grain inspections, animal identification, meat inspections operations, imported product inspection, informational media announcements, cultural/historic site preservation, and restoration of agricultural operations are but a few of the important aspects of Utah's agricultural responsibility during disaster operations. Many of these subjects were addressed during the Great Utah ShakeOut 2012 Exercise at a state and even a Department level. These planning, training, and practice events have better prepared our Department to serve the whole community during disaster events as well as in the day to day business of agriculture in Utah.
Posted April 26, 2012