Floods, earthquakes, severe storms, landslides, hazardous material spills, and wildfires are just a few examples of emergencies in Cache County that Emergency Management has played an active roll in. But what does Emergency Management do when there are no emergencies? Emergency Management coordinates a number of ongoing programs such as homeland security, domestic preparedness, flood mitigation, emergency alert system, and interagency coordination that make Cache Valley a safer, better place to work and live.
Will Lusk is the Emergency Management Coordinator for Cache County. His responsibility includes emergency preparedness education to help families prepare to be self-reliant during a disaster. He also oversees the day-to-day operation of the Emergency Operations Center (E.O.C.). Its purpose is to provide the physical location and the equipment necessary for those persons responsible for managing a countywide emergency or disaster.
To contact the Emergency Management Coordinator click here.
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help. CERT members also are encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in their community.
The Cache County CERT Program is specific to the unincorparated areas of the County. Training is provided to individual towns and communities in the rural areas of the County. Because Cache County is very rural in nature, the CERT Volunteers will be the first on scene for a major disaster or large scale disaster.
A large earthquake occurs on the central segments of the Wasatch fault on average every 350 years. This means there is a 25% chance of having a 7.00-7.5 earthquake within the next 100 years.
How to Prepare for an Earthquake
- Store a minimum of 72 hours worth of food and water. Organize a 72 hour kit.
- Secure fixtures such as lights, cabinets, bookcases, and top heavy objects to resist moving, coming loose, or falling during the shaking. Place heavy objects on lower shelves and securely fasten shelves to walls.
- Hang heavy pictures and mirrors away from beds. Store bottled goods, glass, vases, china, and other breakables in low or closed cabinets and use non-skid padded matting, hold-fast putty, or Velcro whenever possible.
- Bolt down or provide strong support for water heaters and other appliances.
- Consider earthquake insurance.
- Check the electrical wiring and connections to gas appliances. Defective electrical wiring, leaking gas, or inflexible connections are very dangerous in the event of an earthquake.
- Develop a family plan which addresses what to do if the earthquake occurs while family members are at home, school, or work. This plan should include a possible central meeting location for family members after the earthquake, and an out-of-area contact person so other family members can find out information concerning their loved ones. (It is usually easier to call out of a disaster area then to call into one.)
- Locate master switch and shut-off valves for all utilities. Teach all responsible family members how to turn them off.
What to do during an Earthquake
- Stay calm. Having a plan will help you remain calm.
- Stay put. Whether inside or out, STAY THERE.
- Take Cover. If indoors, take cover under a desk, table, or bench, stand in a supported doorway, or along an inside wall or corner. Stay away from windows, bookcases, china cabinets, mirrors, and fireplaces until the shaking stops. If no protection is available, drop to the floor and cover your head with your hands. Never try to restrain a pet during the shaking. If outside, stand away from buildings, trees, and telephone and electric lines. If in an office building, stay next to a pillar or support column, or under a heavy table or desk. If in a crowded public place, never run for the door - a lot of people will try to do that.
- If in a car, pull over to the side of the road as quickly as possible and stop. Never stop on top of or underneath a bridge or under power lines. Stay in your car until the earthquake is over. When you drive on, watch for hazards created by the earthquake such as fallen objects, downed electrical lines, or broken roadways.
- Do not use elevators. Realize the electricity may go out and alarm and sprinkler systems may turn on.
- If you are trapped in an area: Use a flashlight if you have one - don’t use matches or lighters in case of gas leaks. Try to stay still so you won’t kick up dust. Cover your mouth with a piece of clothing. Tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can hear you - shout only as a last resort.
What to do After an Earthquake
- Check for injuries. Provide first aid.
- Check for safety - gas, water, sewage breaks; check for downed electrical lines; turn off interrupted utilities as necessary; check for building damage and potential safety problems during aftershocks such as cracks around chimney and foundation; check for fires.
- Clean up dangerous spills.
- Wear shoes.
- Tune radio to an emergency station (610 am KVNU) and listen for instructions from public safety agencies.
- Report damages or needs to your neighborhood coordinator.
- Do not touch downed power lines or broken appliances.
In the event of a disaster, are you and your family ready? Do you have the items necessary to provide for yourselves without any outside help? Do you have a family emergency plan? Being prepared isn’t a large job but it is a very important one. After watching several national disasters unfold in the media in recent years, it should be easy for us to realize that we need to be prepared.
The foundation of emergency preparedness is self-sufficiency. If each of us takes the responsibility of preparing ourselves and our families for a disaster, it will significantly increase our community’s ability to survive and recover from the incident. Your family should have and be familiar with a family emergency plan. Prepare a disaster supply (72 hour) kit and educate your family on what you are going to do and where you are going to meet in the event of a disaster. Conducting practice drills will insure that all family members are comfortable with implementing your family emergency plan.
In order for emergency responders to work effectively, they must first know that their families are safe. In an effort to prepare employees for natural or man-made disasters, the Sheriff’s Office has developed the Cache County Sheriff's Office Family Emergency Guide. This guide was originally developed for Sheriff’s Office employees; however, we felt that because of its value it should be made available to the public. The guide has instruction on how to prepare a family emergency plan, build a 72 hour kit, and prepare a financial contingency plan. Other issues addressed in the guide include the local Emergency Alert System radio station (610 AM), shelter-in-place procedure, and evacuation information. The guide also outlines ways to prepare for several possible disaster situations that may occur in our valley.
Cache County Sheriff's Office Family Emergency Guide
Below are links to several other very educational emergency preparedness websites:
Additional emergency preparedness information and reference material can be obtained by contacting the Cache County Sheriff's Office Emergency Management Coordinator at 755-1000. Email our Emergency Management Coordinator.
Before the Flood
- Know the elevation of your property in relation to flood plains, streams, and other waterways. Determine the danger to your property.
- Ensure that storm drains, rain gutters, irrigation ditches, and culvert pipes are free of debris and ready to accommodate high flows of water.
- Make advance plans of what to do and where to go.
- Store food, water, and critical medical supplies (prescriptions, etc.).
- Fill your car with gas in case you must evacuate.
- Move furniture and essential items to higher elevation if time permits.
- Have a portable radio and flashlights with extra batteries.
- Open basement windows to equalize water pressure on foundations and walls.
- Secure house and consider flood insurance.
During the Flood
- Listen to local radio or TV for weather information.
- If you are asked to evacuate, shut off main power switch, main gas valve, and water valve. Follow local evacuation plan and routes.
- Do Not attempt to drive over a flooded road, as it may be washed out. While you are on the road, watch for possible flooding at bridges, dips, and low areas. Swiftly moving water of only one foot deep can easily move a car off the road to deeper flood areas.
- Watch out for damaged roads, slides, and fallen electrical wires.
- Drive slowly in water; use low gear.
- If you are driving and your vehicle stalls, abandon it immediately and seek higher ground.
- Do Not attempt to cross a stream on foot where water is above your knees.
- Register at your designated Evacuation Center and remain there until informed to leave.
After the Flood
- Remain away from evacuated area until public health officials and the building inspector have given approval.
- Check for structural damage before re-entering.
- Make sure electricity is off; watch for electrical wires. Leave electricity off until the area is dry and wiring has been inspected.
- Do Not use an open flame as a light source due to possible gas leaks. Use flashlights and beware of dangerous sparks.
- Do not use food that has been contaminated by flood water.
- Do not drink tap water until health officials can certify its safety. Flooding can cause contamination of the water supplies. Contaminated water can contain micro-organisms that can cause diseases. Purify your water if you think it might be contaminated before drinking, cooking, washing dishes, or bathing.(boil 3-5 minutes)
Click on one of the following links to view current conditions at each water monitoring location.
Snow Depth - Snow Pack (Snotel Sites)
Local River Levels - Hydrograph stations
Useful Flooding / Sandbagging related Links:
Landslides occur in all U.S. states and territories. In a landslide, masses of rock, earth, or debris move down a slope. Landslides may be small or large, slow or rapid. They are activated by storms, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, fires, and human modification of land.
Debris and mud flows are rivers of rock, earth, and other debris saturated with water. They develop when water rapidly accumulates in the ground, during heavy rainfall or rapid snowmelt, changing the earth into a flowing river of mud or “slurry.” They can flow rapidly, striking with little or no warning at avalanche speeds. They also can travel several miles from their source, growing in size as they pick up trees, boulders, cars, and other materials.
Landslide problems can be caused by land mismanagement, particularly in mountain, canyon, and coastal regions. Land-use zoning, professional inspections, and proper design can minimize many landslide, mudflow, and debris flow problems.
What To Do Before a Landslide or Debris Flow
The following are steps you can take to protect yourself from the effects of a landslide or debris flow:
- Do not build near steep slopes, close to mountain edges, near drainage ways, or natural erosion valleys.
- Get a ground assessment of your property.
- Consult an appropriate professional expert for advice on corrective measures.
- Minimize home hazards by having flexible pipe fittings installed to avoid gas or water leaks, as flexible fittings are more resistant to breakage (only the gas company or professionals should install gas fittings).
Recognize Landslide Warning Signs
- Changes occur in your landscape such as patterns of storm-water drainage on slopes (especially the places where runoff water converges), land movement, small slides, flows, or progressively leaning trees.
- Doors or windows stick or jam for the first time.
- New cracks appear in plaster, tile, brick, or foundations.
- Outside walls, walks, or stairs begin pulling away from the building.
- Slowly developing, widening cracks appear on the ground or on paved areas such as streets or driveways.
- Underground utility lines break.
- Bulging ground appears at the base of a slope.
- Water breaks through the ground surface in new locations.
- Fences, retaining walls, utility poles, or trees tilt or move.
- A faint rumbling sound that increases in volume is noticeable as the landslide nears.
- The ground slopes downward in one direction and may begin shifting in that direction under your feet.
- Unusual sounds, such as trees cracking or boulders knocking together, might indicate moving debris.
- Collapsed pavement, mud, fallen rocks, and other indications of possible debris flow can be seen when driving (embankments along roadsides are particularly susceptible to landslides).
During a Landslide or Debris Flow
The following are guidelines for what you should do if a landslide or debris flow occurs:
- Move away from the path of a landslide or debris flow as quickly as possible.
- Curl into a tight ball and protect your head if escape is not possible.
After a Landslide or Debris Flow
The following are guidelines for the period following a landslide:
- Stay away from the slide area. There may be danger of additional slides.
- Check for injured and trapped persons near the slide, without entering the direct slide area. Direct rescuers to their locations.
- Watch for associated dangers such as broken electrical, water, gas, and sewage lines and damaged roadways and railways.
- Replant damaged ground as soon as possible since erosion caused by loss of ground cover can lead to flash flooding and additional landslides in the near future.
- Seek advice from a geotechnical expert for evaluating landslide hazards or designing corrective techniques to reduce landslide risk.
If you are anticipating any flooding, but have not had a history of it, you need to purchase your sandbags from one of the following local retailers:
- CAL Ranch
- Home Depot
- Smithfield Implement
- Stock Building Supply
If you are in need of sand, you can purchase it from one of the following local retailers:
- LeGrand Johnson Contruction Co.
- Staker/Parsons Companies
- Geneva Rock
Who to contact?
If you are currently experiencing flooding, please follow the directions below:
- If you live in a city, please contact your mayor or city manager to receive sandbags and/or sand for you.
- If you live in the unincorporated County, please contact the Cache County Road Department at 755-1560 between the hours of 8 am and 5 pm, Monday thru Thursday.
- At any other time, you may contact the Cache County Sheriff's Office at 755-1000.
If you live within a city boundary:
Seek information and assistance from your own city Administration (look up your city in the phone book), and then work with your city administrators.
If you live within the unincorporated area:
Access the information on the county website and if you need further assistance, you can contact the Cache County Emergency Management: 435-755-1059 or 435-994-9595
Flooding Potential, River Levels, Snow Pack, and Preparation Information:
Navigate to the Flood Preparations tab.
Homes in the flood plain or flood insurance:
If you live in a city, confer with your respective city administration. If you live in the unincorporated area you can call the Cache County Floodplain Manager – (435-755-1630) to obtain flood plain information. If you want to know about purchasing flood insurance, you can contact your local insurance agent or see the Floodsmart.gov website on the internet that talks about flood insurance.
You can go to the Cache County Development Services website and look at the map of road closures. There are marked locations, pictures and videos of trouble spots.
Where to purchase sump pumps, sand bags, and sand:
You can go to Lowes, Home Depot, or some of the other home improvement stores here in the valley. If you want to purchase sand, you can go to one of the many landscaping businesses in the valley.
If you have questions about the availability of sandbags in an emergency within your respective cities or need information on sandbagging:
Contact your city Administrative offices or your city Public Works Departments. If you live in the unincorporated areas of the county, you can go to the Cache County Sheriff Office where there are piles of sand and sandbags available.
If you need help with sandbagging around your home:
You can organize groups from your neighborhood or work through your local homeowner’s association. You can work with your respective city public works department. You can also talk with someone who is on your local CERT team in your neighborhood. If it is a non-life threatening emergency, you can download the Army Corp of Engineer sandbagging guide.
How to volunteer and help fill sandbags:
Let your local homeowner’s association in their neighborhood know, or contact a member of your local CERT team in your neighborhood or city, You can also contact 211 and put your name on an availability list, then when opportunities happen you can also be called out to help.
Questions regarding trees behind your home that are in the river or have fallen into the river:
Within your respective city, consult with your city public works department or if you are in the unincorporated area of the county, you can consult with the County Floodplain manager or the Cache County Emergency Manager
Questions regarding mold or cleaning up of ground water and mold in your homes following flooding:
You can seek information from the Bear River Health department at 435-792-6570 for information and safety tips, or you can contact one of the restoration companies here in the valley.
For all other questions not otherwise specified here in regards to flooding in Cache County, you can call the Cache County Emergency Manager – 435-755-1059.