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Emergency agencies kick into gear during Utah winter storms

Posted at 5:38 PM, Jan 05, 2022

SOUTH SALT LAKE, Utah — While the Salt Lake County Emergency Coordination Center often deals with things like wildfires or commanding other disasters in the area, during winter storms they also serve an important purpose.

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“A unified joint message is absolutely critical,” said Division Chief Clint Mecham. “So one of the tasks that we have from Salt Lake County is to always maintain situational awareness regardless of what and where that comes from or what it is.”

Right now, the situation is to make sure that information is pushed out to the cities, metro townships, and unincorporated areas of Salt Lake County during bad winter weather.

This information is key for things like how many snowplows to have ready, when to tell employees to come in, or position resources in case of a weather-related power outage.

“It's something we pay a lot of attention to and take a lot of effort in to make sure that we're getting good information, and we're providing our partners and our leadership with accurate information as well,” Mecham said.

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One of those in charge of the information flow is Keith Bevan. The county's Planning and Intelligence Officer is tasked during storms to gather the information into one place so it can then be accessed by all of the agencies in the county.

“So when we look at storms in general, we look at the impacts that we'll have on Salt Lake.” Bevan said. “We start watching the weather at the national level every day.”

During the winter, their days can start pretty early too depending on when the storms roll in.

“As storms come in we can be up at two or three o'clock in the morning,” added Mecham.

They also are a resource to know what's happening in different parts of the valley as well, because what's happening in Salt Lake can be very different than the east bench or South Jordan.

With the winter weather in full swing, this information is hugely important and can help prepare the resources that keep you safe and moving.