No-notice emergency exercise surprises 1,500 public safety employees

SALT LAKE CITY — Without warning, the alerts began pouring into the Utah Department of Public Safety Monday as the department’s senior leadership began an exercise to test divisions’ response to an emergency scenario.

The scenario: A 7.0 earthquake and simultaneous cyber attack that shuts down the power grid.

The department’s divisions were expected to react quickly to get awareness and look for ways to support the rest of the department. For example, the Division of Emergency Management activated the State Emergency Operations Center, located near the Capitol. Other divisions began having conversations about how they would operate in such an emergency.

“This first-of-its-kind exercise was perfectly timed with two national preparedness months in mind,” Keith D. Squires, DPS commissioner, said. “September is National Preparedness Month and October is Cyber Security Awareness Month. We aim to help not only our divisions but the general public take steps to prepare for natural disasters and to protect their cyber security. The better we prepare, the better we can respond when something real happens.”

In a real event, DPS is Gov. Gary Herbert’s lead agency to immediately get lifesaving resources to affected areas and assist local responders.

Monday’s exercise was designed to test employee preparedness and agency response to cascading events in the wake of a natural disaster. Later, division directors will report back to the department about training, preparedness or planning needs.

Throughout National Preparedness Month, Be Ready Utah has been sharing emergency preparedness tips on social media.

This exercise is one more of Utah’s contributions to America’s PrepareAthon, a national day of emergency preparedness action. Though the PrepareAthon was Sept. 30, preparedness events can happen any time around that date.

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1 Comment

  • Bobber October 3, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    I have a stash of 300 guns and 500,000 rounds, so I’m ready!

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