By Jill Harrison
When the sirens are sounding, the earth shaking, the flames billowing or the waters rushing in, it will be too late to plan how to respond.
Provo city officials recommend all residents spend one hour planning their emergency preparedness during the month of October.
For students, the best way to do this is to be informed about different emergencies, according to Kerry Baum, the BYU emergency preparedness coordinator.
“Students need more than anything else to know what the hazards are and how to respond,” he said. “Do you know what to do?”
He gave the example of an earthquake and the instinct of many people to run outside rather than running under a doorway or table to protect themselves.
“We never know when disaster may strike or what form it may take, such as a fire, flood, earthquake, terrorist incident or even a chemical spill from a truck on I-15,” said mayor Lewis K. Billings in a news release. “However, we can all take steps to be prepared so as to minimize our own risk and cost.”
Students reduce their risks by learning the correct safety procedures, but do not necessarily need personal preparedness kits, according to Baum.
“The university has been asked by the brethren not to encourage students to put together 72 hour kits,” he said.
BYU has the ability to meet the immediate needs of all its students.
“At any given time we have enough food to feed 33,000 people for three days,” he said. The food comes from the dining service warehouses that are kept full at all times.
This does not mean that students cannot have their own kits but it is not required or even recommended.
The recent focus on preparation is in response to natural and man-caused disasters that might affect Provo residents, like the wild fire in the canyon, according to a news release from Provo City.
The city provided an emergency preparedness plan worksheet for families and individuals to evaluate their preparedness. City officials recommend individuals fill this out and watch a 30-minute program dealing with disaster preparation and responses.
The worksheet can be downloaded from the Internet at provosafety.provo.org. The video titled: Emergency Preparedness – A Call to Action,” can be checked out at the Provo City Library at Academy Square.
BYU”s risk management emergency preparedness Web page, www.byu.edu/hr/risk/emer.html, also provides all the basic information students need for what to do in an emergency.