Disaster Preparedness Part 1


By Rachel Holt

Twin Falls, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KSVT-TV ) Often when disaster strikes, there is no way to expect it.

Whether it is an act of terrorism, a weather related issue, or a manmade incident, emergency crews can be caught by surprise.

On April 15th 2013, an act of terrorism at the Boston Marathon killed three and injured more than 160.

A month later, a massive tornado ripped through homes and elementary schools in Oklahoma, claiming 24 lives.

And in March of 2014, the small community of Oso, Washington was destroyed by a mudslide.

When tragedy strikes, it does not discriminate by location.

"We're constantly keeping fingers on a pulse. Sometimes things we do are large and recognizable; other times we're just helping people plan and train if we do see a disaster," explains Robert Feeley, BHS Public Affairs Officer.

Emergency services coordinator Jackie Frey is aware of the threat of the unknown.

"We have a current plan, on that we train on, one that we recognize and we will use if something happens. The bottom line is if something happens, we will put forth the effort to manage that situation," Frey says.

"Whether it's natural or manmade disaster, if you talk about cyber security or terrorism, wildfires, flooding, landslides, you name it, we work on it and plan and have plans on file for every single one," explains Brad Richy, BHS, Idaho Director.

Emergency personnel prepare for threats the state is more likely to see, including wildfires, flooding, and high winds.

"We have an incredible state with a lot of high fuels and wild land...we're rural and have many residents who live in older homes and have not seen the amount of wind we're seeing," Frey says.

"We typically can predict rainstorms 2-4 days in advance during the summer time. With the flash flooding is when we have less time to prepare," explains Troy Lindquist, service hydrologist.

Identifying areas of vulnerability and working to keep southern Idaho safe.

The chance of earthquake and tornado damage is much lower than the national average.

However, Thursday evening we will examine some areas where Idaho is impacted by disaster.

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