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Park City residents, emergency personnel participate in citywide evacuation exercise

Posted at 6:00 PM, Sep 28, 2022

PARK CITY, Utah — The exercise is part of a citywide evacuation plan in development for two years, preparing everyone for large earthquakes, raging wildfires and loss of firefighting water.

On Wednesday Emergency Manager McComb says they rolled out their first large scale exercise, evacuating about 60 residents who volunteered to participate.

Park City Residents Jane Sagerman and Charlotte O'Connell took part in the evacuation exercise.

While it was just a simulation, they made sure to treat it as if it were real.

"You take the 72-hour kit that they have you prepared for and then what else? and I thought, well, I have a piece of artwork from each of my kid," said O'Connell.

Residents were put on buses at a staging area, near Deer Valley Resort and shuttled out of the area.

A wrinkle to the exercise, McComb says, involved a scenario where a panicked motorist caused an accident with one of the city buses, involving five vehicles.

This part of the evacuation exercise involved several people who were hurt and being treated on scene, including a victim that needed to be flown out by AirMed.

One of those people who took part as an injured victim was Jen McComb.

"I had a head injury and my role was to basically pass out and then be assessed by," said McComb. "We'll get the response from the other people on the bus and then be assessed and treated by paramedics."

Residents would later be transported over to Richardson Flat Park-n-Ride, which was designated the simulated zone of safety where several displays were set up and residents could meet with various emergency personnel and groups.

Several agencies participated in this scenario and others. They include Park City Fire District, Utah Highway Patrol, Park City Police, Summit County Public Safety Dispatch, Summit County Emergency Management and a whole host of volunteer organizations.

McComb says a pretty challenging scenario like this will only help residents and emergency personnel to be prepared, if need be.

"As we watch our fellow citizens in Florida prepared to evacuate for real, as hurricane Ian approaches, just knowing that disasters can and do happen every day," said McComb.

Something that residents, like Sagerman, say is a good reminder.

"What would I grab in the 10 minutes that 30 minutes to one hour evacuation and also starting to make plans, where would I go? I don't think I ever thought about that," said Sagerman.

"As we watch our fellow citizens in Florida prepared to evacuate for real, as hurricane Ian approaches, just knowing that disasters can and do happen every day," said McComb.

Something that residents, like Sagerman, say is a good reminder.

"What would I grab in the 10 minutes that 30 minutes to one hour evacuation and also starting to make plans, where would I go? I don't think I ever thought about that," said Sagerman.

Moving forward, McComb said they will take what the lessons they learned today, see what improvements can be made and apply it to their citywide evacuation plan.

The exercise on Wednesday comes more than a year after several communities in the Park City area had to be evacuated, because of a recent fire in Parley's Canyon.

Thousands of homes were threatened, but, none were damaged or destroyed by the 541-acre wildfire.