Are you ready? Disaster preps for Pima County

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Natural disasters---and man-made ones are highlighting the need for governments---and people to prepare for the worst.

In just a few weeks a series of hurricanes showed some of the worst nature could do to us....

And the Las Vegas mass shooting showed some of the worst we could do to each other.
     
Every new challenge and the reaction to it can be a lesson in how to respond to the next disaster.

Kyla Breland of Pima County Emergency Management says, “We use those unfortunate opportunities for our gain and to make sure that we're prepared, so we don't face an incident like that."

Pima County organizes its disaster response and publishes a comprehensive emergency plan.  It’s frequently updated.
        
For Tucson, the January 8th mass shooting was a severe test of what first responders could do. Part of the response included vehicles Tucson Fire keeps ready for the quick reaction.

Tucson Fire Captain Andy Skaggs says, “This is designed for a mass casualty incident where there's going to be multiple patients.  With this truck, we would have the potential to serve between 80 and 100 patients."
        
Supplies on the truck would help re-supply ambulances with backboards, bandages and others equipment to help treat the injured, appraise their conditions and decide who's top priority for critical care at the hospitals.

For a serious emergency, Pima County's Emergency Operation Center would become a gathering place for the collection of agencies involved in the response. That could include law enforcement, fire, and rescue, hospitals, public utilities.

In our area the most likely emergencies come from nature: trouble like wildfire, and monsoon flooding but authorities drill to prepare for everything from a mass shooting incident to an airliner crash.

In this modern world, there's a new concern in the world of emergency management.  That is you, your smartphone and the rumors that can circulate by way of social media.  So now emergency managers have people assigned to watch what's going out on social media and counter it with good, credible information of their own.
        
Pima County has a “My Alerts” program that sends official emergency info to your phone.  But part of emergency preps depends on you.

Kyla Breland of Pima Co. Emergency Management says, “We always encourage our citizens to consider formulating at least a minimum of 72 hours kits so they can be self-sufficient for 72 hours should things happen, and they can get back together with their family. They have that conversation about how they would communicate if cell phones were down.
        
The 9/11 attacks propelled a drive to pump up emergency abilities and add equipment like the gear Tucson Fire is ready to bring wherever it's needed.

Tucson Fire Captain Andy Skaggs says: "As nice as it is to have these pieces of equipment, isn't it a great day when we never have to deploy them?"

 

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