Sunday, December 30, 2012

Council Member Charlie Luke Newsletter

The following article from Salt Lake City Council Member Charlie Luke is posted from the District Six Community Update Newsletter, Winter 2012.

Council Member Charlie Luke
DISASTER: What If It Happens Here?

When we see or read reports of the seemingly more prevalent disasters that strike around the world, one simple question returns again and again: If disaster were to strike in Salt Lake City, are we prepared?  Do you know what to do in case of an emergency or disaster such as those mentioned above?

In taking a hard look at our City’s emergency preparedness posture, the answer is, we are much better off than we were five years ago, but there is much more that can be done. Salt Lake City’s Emergency Services personnel include the traditional fire, medical and police personnel, as well as nontraditional teams from Public Services and Public Utilities.

The Emergency Services teams are well prepared for dealing with both day-to-day “garden variety” emergencies and major emergencies, but disasters are different. Disasters cross geo-political boundaries and consume all resources within hours. If a major earthquake occurs, emergency response from official government sources will be overwhelmed and delayed due to the magnitude of such an event.  Residents could be “on their own” for days or even weeks.

As individuals, families and neighborhoods, everyone must come to the firm realization that the first and most important line of emergency preparedness in Salt Lake Valley is the individual.  Each person is responsible or preparing for a disaster.  Much can be done for little expense and a small investment of time.

Salt Lake City’s Office of Emergency Management is an excellent source of information for emergency preparedness and offers the following recommendations: three items that should be immediately available are a battery powered flashlight, a battery powered radio and a well stocked first-aid kit. Keep at least a half tank of gas in your car at all times. Next, store a 3-7 day supply of water; at least one gallon per person in your household per day.  Seventy-two hours is a minimum planning figure used to prepare a supply kit for each person  in your family.

You should consider assembling kits with items you will need to sustain yourself for 120 hours without outside assistance, utilities, or human needs supplies.  Be sure to include an extra pair of glasses and medications for any conditions you may have, such as diabetes, heart conditions, or asthma as these medications may not be readily available.

Consider the time of year when assembling your kit.  As we are moving into the winter months, think about including an extra coat, blanket, and boots in a kit for your vehicle; it could save someone else as well as yourself. Your “Emergency Kit” should be portable in case you need to evacuate your home in situations such as a chemical spill/release, ruptured gas mains, structural instability, or flooding.

After gathering emergency supplies, develop individual, family, and neighborhood emergency preparedness plans that account for time at work and school.  The plans should outline what each participant should do before, during and after an earthquake or disaster, no matter where you are!

Finally, know where to go for accurate information.  In times of emergencies, stay off the phone, except for 911 life-or-death matters.  Surviving phone lines will be desperately needed by emergency responders.   Send runners to check on family and neighbors.  For disaster information and instructions, turn your battery powered radio to 1160 AM (KSL).  This is Salt Lake City’s primary Emergency Alert System station.

For details on how to prepare yourself and your family, please contact John Flynt, Preparedness Coordinator at or 801-799-3604.  He can provide an excellent assortment of free emergency preparedness information or, visit or Sign up to receive updates and stay informed during an emergency at

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Lessons from Hurricane Sandy

Article posted from  Click on the title below to read from their website and see the follow-up comments.

26 Lessons from Hurricane Sandy

This week, we were forwarded an email from a family that lives in New Jersey that dealt with the power outages as the result of Hurricane Sandy.

This family made a list of lessons they learned during the storm. We wanted to pass along some of the points on their list so that you and your family could learn from their experiences and be better prepared for a power outage...

  1. The excitement of a power outage wears off around day three.
  2. Just because your generator runs smooth, does not mean it’s producing electricity.
  3. A couple of cases of bottled water is NOT water storage.
  4. You should have as much fuel as water. That includes:
    • Propane
    • Gas
    • Kerosene
    • Firewood
    • Fire starter (kindling, paper, etc.)
  5. If you are not working, chances are nobody else is either. Don’t just sit around, go out and work.
  6. You eat a lot more food when you are cold or bored.
  7. You need more food than you think if your kids are out of school for 2 weeks.
  8. Kids do not like washing their face in cold water.
  9. Your 1972 Honda Civic gets to the grocery store as well as your 2012 Escalade, but the Honda allows money left over for heat, food, water, a generator, fire wood, a backup water pump … you get the idea.
  10. The electrical grid is way more fragile than I thought.
  11. Think of the foods that calm you down and help you think – a cup of hot chocolate, a glass of milk and a ding dong before bed, etc. You’ll need comfort food.
  12. You quickly become the guy in the neighborhood who knows how to wire a generator to the electrical panel, directly wire the furnace to a small generator, or get the well pump running on inverter power.
  13. A woman who can cook a fine meal by candle light over the BBQ or open fire is worth her weight in gold.
  14. It takes a lot of firewood to keep a fire going all day and into the evening for heat.
  15. In an emergency men stock up on food, women stock up on toilet paper.
  16. I was surprised how many things run on electricity!
  17. You can never have enough matches.
  18. All of the expensive clothes in the closet mean nothing if they don’t keep you warm. The same goes for shoes.
  19. You cannot believe the utility companies. They are run by politicians! Or so it seems.
  20. “A man with a chainsaw that knows how to use it is a thing of beauty”.
  21. Most things don’t take much power to operate. Things like:  
    • Computers
    • Phones
    • Radios
    • TV
    • Lights
  22. Some things take a ton of power to operate:
    • Fridge
    • Toaster
    • Freezer
    • Hot plate
    • Microwave
  23. It gets darker a lot sooner than you think.
  24. Getting out of the house is very important. Even if it is cold. Make your home the semi-warm place to come home to, not the cold prison that you are stuck in.
  25. Someone in your family must play or learn to play guitar.
There were also many things that were not learned from Hurricane Sandy, but reinforced. Those things were the importance of my family and their love and support, especially my lovely spouse and that I am very thankful for the upbringing and experiences that have taught me and brought me to where I am.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Two Emergency Preparedness Guides

I have just posted two guides in pdf form regarding emergency preparedness.  Both provide really good information for us here in the Salt Lake valley.  I have included the links below, and posted links in the menu bar above under "Documents".  Enjoy!

Salt Lake Valley Health Department Family Emergency Preparedness Guide

Putting Down Roots In Earthquake Country

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Generator Maintenance

Many people purchase a portable generator for use during a power outage.  Follow this expert advice on how to buy, operate and maintain a gas powered electrical generator so that it's safe and ready to go when the power goes out.  Topics include:

Tip 1: Don't get burned by wattage ratings
Tip 2: Stock up on oil and filters
Tip 3: Chill out before you refill
Tip 4: Running out of gas can cost you
Tip 5: Old fuel is your worst enemy
Tip 6: Backfeeding kills
Tip 7: Store gasoline safely
Tip 8: Lock it down
Tip 9: Use a heavy-duty cord

Read the full article posted on '" at the following link:

As with any product you purchase, always make to follow the manufacture guidelines for operation, maintenance and parts purchase.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Deseret News, Mormons Prepare for Hurricane Sandy

This article posted in The Deseret News on October 29, 2012.  It shows how some members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints prepared for Hurricane Sandy.  Below is just a small portion of the article.  Click on the title below and read the full article.

As Mormons prepare for Hurricane Sandy, they live their faith

"Preparedness is part of what we do as Latter-day Saints," said President Ahmad Corbitt, president of the LDS Church's Cherry Hill New Jersey Stake (a stake is an ecclesiastical unit that is similar to a diocese in other Christian faiths). "As a culture we are prepared because we've been prepared by our leaders. One of the great benefits of having membership in the restored church is we have prophets on the watchtower who see things afar off and sound the warnings. One of those warnings over the decades has been to be prepared."

Mormons are layering additional precautions on top of that typical groundwork with Sandy on its way. Local LDS leaders in the Eastern United States have been working with church members and missionaries and urging preparedness, caution and outreach to others who may need help during a natural calamity.

"We all went out and bought cases of bottled water," said Elizabeth Stuart, a student at Columbia University, who lives in the Washington Heights area with several LDS roommates. "We filled up buckets of water in case we need them, and we bought batteries and flashlights and candles and matches. We feel like we're ready."

The Red Cross is prepared to call on the underlying LDS infrastructure where needed.

"The (LDS) Church has created a strong culture of preparedness among its members that I believe can be a model for others throughout the country," wrote Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the American Red Cross, in an summer op-ed for the Deseret News.

"The church counsels members to be prepared for a personal emergency or natural disaster by preparing emergency plans and having basic emergency supplies on hand," she continued. "And, because individual church members are prepared and resilient from disasters, the church can focus on helping other community members following an emergency."

Friday, December 7, 2012

Disaster Stress And Older Adults

I found this article on the FEMA website about disaster stress and how it may affect older adults.  It has some really good ideas on how we might assist older adults to deal with disaster related stress.

Release date: DECEMBER 7, 2012
Release Number: 4086-049

TRENTON, N.J. -- Many survivors of Hurricane Sandy find themselves under additional stress these days. But disaster-related anxiety can be especially high in older adults, particularly those living on their own or isolated from friends and family.

Because of their age and other unique circumstances, older adults often react much differently than younger people to catastrophic events. It’s not uncommon after a disaster for them to become withdrawn, agitated, disoriented and confused.

Family members, friends, neighbors and caregivers should be aware of this and be ready to safeguard both their physical and mental health. Be on the lookout for the following symptoms of senior stress:

  • Fear of losing their independence because of disaster-related injury or loss of their residence. This can be the biggest trauma that older people face after a disaster.
  • Problems talking to people and answering questions. Difficulties in communicating after a disaster can be increased by factors such as slower thought processes related to age, problems with seeing and hearing, and reduced mobility.
  • “Welfare” stigma. Many older adults are cautious about or even unwilling to accept government help because they have always “paid their way.” Their reluctance to accept assistance can be compounded by a lack of knowledge about government services for which they may be eligible.
  • Memories or flashbacks of other events in their lives when they were traumatized or suffered severe losses.
  • Anxiety caused by poor reading skills and inadequate command of the English language.
  • Worry about limited financial resources and having enough time to rebuild their homes.
  • Fear of being put in an institution because they cannot return to a home that was destroyed by the disaster.
  • Withdrawal and isolation from family and friends.
  • In severe cases, seniors also may undergo personality changes in the wake of a disaster.

Because older people may be on medication for health conditions, it’s important to ensure they are medically stable before deciding that any of the above symptoms are due to emotional stress.

It’s also important to keep in mind that seniors have decades of experience and strengths gained from facing previous disasters and adversity.

Those who live or work with older adults who have been adversely affected by Hurricane Sandy can take a number of steps to monitor and improve their mental health:

  • Provide consistent verbal reassurance.
  • Assist them in recovering personal possessions.
  • Help them re-establish contact with their family, friends and social networks.
  • Help them find a suitable residential relocation until they can return to their own home, ideally in familiar surroundings with friends or acquaintances.
  • Make frequent home visits and arrange for others to visit them.
  • Ensure medical and financial assistance.
  • Provide transportation to the doctor, grocery store, etc.
  • Re-establish and monitor their nutritional and medication needs.

Older people or their family and friends seeking additional information about stress counseling and services should contact their local mental health agencies. The New Jersey Department of Human Services is coordinating statewide efforts to help individuals and communities manage the emotional impact of the storm. Crisis counselors are currently providing support and assisting in FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers as needed.

In addition to providing face-to-face disaster crisis counseling, the state provides informational materials about coping, and it has partnered with the Mental Health Association in New Jersey to offer assistance through a toll free helpline: 877-294-4357 (also applies for VRS or 711-Relay users) or TTY 877-294-4356. More information about disaster-related stress can be found at the website:

See the FEMA website article at