By Rachel Olsen
Provo city reported they are on emergency stand-by, more ready than they have ever been, following the horrific events in New York and Washington D.C. yesterday morning.
Mayor Lewis K. Billings, of Provo city, said citizens shouldn”t be afraid of similar attacks occurring in Provo.
“As a city we do not have reason to believe we would be a target at this time of any terrorist. However, it is imperative that we be extra-cautious and always prepared any time there is any possibility of harm to any citizen.”
The city has employed all emergency command centers, and, if anything were to happen, they would be there in minutes.
“We just had emergency run through tests last week; we are better prepared than we have ever been,” Billings said.
Two and a half years ago the city of Provo enhanced public city preparedness. As part of the program, the city made Tricia Porter”s job as Emergency Management Coordinator a full time position, for which she has been nationally recognized.
The program, Project Impact, comes through the Federal Emergency Management Agencies (FEMA). As a competitive program it monitors the city for all emergencies, such as earthquakes, floods, and even terrorist attacks.
Because of this program the city of Provo is “more able and more capable to react and respond to emergency situations,” Billings said.
According to Porter, the city is practicing the system through table-top exercises to make sure that all communication is open through radio, telephone, and email.
“Departments communicate with each other to combine efforts, not duplicating efforts,” Porter said. Porter commented that there is very good communication for Provo departments and that they work well together.
As requested by Federal Aviation, Provo city airport has been closed and secured. Even with the new radar surveillance system, there are no incoming or outgoing flights at Provo city airport, and one flight was rerouted to the Salt Lake airport.
All city government offices remained open Tuesday, as did all state government offices. Mayor Billings also ordered all offices to review their security measures.
The Mayor also ordered yesterday all flags be lowered to half-staff in memory of all those who have perished in the terrorist attacks.
Mayor Billings stressed the biggest impact on the citizens of Provo would be the emotional and mental anguish caused by the tragedy. He also stressed adults should talk with their children and explain the tragedy to them.
“This is a very sobering set of circumstances. I imagine that this is what people felt in World War II times when Pearl Harbor was attacked,” Billings said.