Disasters can hit at anytime, whether it be from natural causes, earthquakes, floods, windstorms, fire, or unnatural disasters, power outages, wrecks, and chemical spills. Though not something most of us think about most the time, but for Morgan’s Peggy Mecham it stirs constantly in her mind of how to ensure safety for the community in times of unforeseen events.
Peggy who is a volunteer worker for Red Cross, and who travels many times nationwide to assist in disasters has seen many situations where people had to rely on the help of the Red Cross during unsuspecting matters of disaster. One of the biggest challenges for the Red Cross is having to provide for a large number of people, who don’t have any of their own supplies or 72 hour kits on hand.
Most recently Peggy Mecham was able to work with the Red Cross in getting a Walmart grant to purchase 100 cots, 210 blankets, 4 medical cots and hygiene comfort kits for Morgan County, to have on hand in case of an emergency. “If anytime you are asked to evacuate your home, please take your own 72 hour kit with you, at least have a change of clothes, as the Red Cross couldn’t possibly provide for every single person in the community,” says Mecham.
In 1994 the Weber Canyon was closed due to high winds, and a terrible storm. Approximately 50 cars were stranded in Morgan. The canyon was projected to be closed for 4 days. During this time, travelers had to make due, in their cars in grocery stores and church parking lots. Fortunately the canyon was opened the first part of the evening. It was during this time that Mecham wanted to find out what was available in emergency situations like this, and to encourage the county to have the Red Cross available in Morgan. She took classes with the Red Cross for Basic Disaster, doing everything she could to learn what was necessary to prepare Morgan County for the unknown. It was in 2002 that Morgan got its first Red Cross trailer from a Homeland Security Grant.
We constantly hear about the big earthquake that is supposed to happen along the Wasatch front, and most talk about when it’s going to happen, not if it’s going to happen, as a community we all need to constantly be prepared, and not panicked. Doug Thompson who was unloading some of the supplies for the Morgan Red Cross, commented “Each household should be prepared with their own 72 hour kits, and to prepare for 7 to 10 days, not just 72 hours. Purchasing your own camping equipment, and cots are a good idea, as the 100 donated cots only sleeps 100 people!”
In the event of an emergency, usually churches, schools, public buildings and bigger venues have been used to host misplaced people. Peggy stated, “When the new Trojan Century Center was being built, one of my first thoughts is in an emergency, where people had to evacuate from their homes, that building is large enough to hold a lot of people.” When looking for a temporary shelter, one of the key factors is space, bathrooms and covered safety. Of course each individual circumstance will be assessed and shelter determined on the type of the disaster or event. For more information on getting training or information about the Red Cross you can contact the Red Cross at (801)627-0000. The Morgan Emergency Management in Morgan will soon be conducting a drill for the community.
Other disaster relief organizations include the MRC (Medical Reserve Corps) The Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) is a national network of local groups of volunteers who assist their communities in activities that promote and strengthen public health, emergency response, and community resiliency. Their mission is to support local efforts in establishing, implementing and sustaining MRC units nationwide.
FEMA, is a federal run partnership between Homeland security and Communities providing emergency management.