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Disaster Preparedness Part 2

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By Rachel Holt

Twin Falls, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KSVT-TV ) In part one of our series Disaster Preparedness, we identified some areas where the Gem State is vulnerable to natural disasters.

In part two, we take a closer look at instances where tragedy struck - and how emergency personnel responded.

On March 17th, this shocking video occurred at the Hansen Bridge, where a semi truck flipped on its side due to high winds.

"In the National Weather Service, we knew it was going to be a high wind day, and our mission is the protection of life and property. Hopefully that information will be distributed so people can prepare and hopefully not do those dangerous bridge crossings," says Jay Breidenbach, National Weather Center Meteorologist.

Other stories from the Gem State shocked the nation in 2013.

In August, 16 year old Hannah Anderson was abducted and taken to Cascade as a week-long manhunt ensued.

"In this case, the search and rescue was in a highly remote area, so we were able to get some SWAT teams out there and set up mobile sites on mountain tops so there could be communication," explains Robert Feeley, BHS Public Affairs Officer.

The same month, the Beaver Creek Fire burned over 100 thousand acres of the Sawtooth National Forest.

In addition to the high threat of wildfires, the state is no stranger to earthquakes and flooding.

But compared to the rest of the nation, Idaho ranks low in states susceptible to disaster.

"What happens is nationally, they are looking at the amount of threats and areas of high impact and Idaho has not been one, so unfortunately the grants are quite competitive," points out Jackie Frey, emergency services coordinator.

While not necessarily a bad thing, this does affect the way local agencies and the BHS prepare.

"There's never enough money to do all the things you want to do. We have made an effort to take the limited funding to identify threats we think we're going to see and prioritize things so we've increased capabilities, and in that regard I think we're very well prepared," Feeley explains.

A state ready and waiting... to step in if needed.

For more information on preparing for disaster, visit http://www.bhs.idaho.gov/.


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