County emergency services enlists help of local businesses

Pete Kuhlmann, director of Washington County Emergency Services, scans a list of local businesses he can call on in case of an emergency. June 5, 2018, St. George, Utah | Photo by Ryan Rees, St. George News

ST. GEORGE —If disaster strikes, the Washington County Emergency Services is ready to spring into action by contacting local businesses to help if needed.

Emergency Services Director Pete Kuhlmann has a list of contacts in different categories he can pull up on his computer instantly.

The department is asking businesses to update their information on the vendor list and encouraging others that are not on the list to sign up.

Firefighters line up for dinner at the Saddle Fire base camp located in Grass Valley on the Dixie National Forest near Pine Valley, Washington County, Utah, June 27, 2016 | File photo by Michael Durrant, St. George News

“Given the number of businesses in the area, we don’t have that many, probably less than 100,” he said. “The program is to let us know what’s available so we don’t have to go through the Yellow Pages.”

The vendor list was created in 2016 and used for the first time a few months later when the Saddle Fire broke out in Pine Valley.

“Fortunately, we haven’t had to use it since. Frankly, I hope we don’t ever have to,” Kuhlmann said.

The list also is used for training and help with purchasing.

“If we need some kind of equipment, we can go to the list and invite the companies to enter a competitive bid,” he said.

“We do a lot of planning, writing plans, improving what we do with our resources and work with people to train them if needed during an emergency. We do a lot of preparation in the hope we never have to use it.”

The department sends out reminders two or three times a year along with a yearly automatic email.

“We tried a direct mail of 2,000-2,500 pieces several years ago. But the response was so poor, it wasn’t worth the effort. So, we rely on social media now,” Kuhlmann said.

The reminders ask the participating businesses to update their 24-hour contact information, phone numbers and what products or services they can provide.

“We just like to have it updated often so we have the latest information,” he said.

To participate in the program or for more information, visit the Emergency Services website or call 435-634-5734.

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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