Checklists and tips for preparing for Great Utah ShakeOut, natural disasters

Published: Tuesday, April 16 2013 1:35 p.m. MDT

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Richard Bart Green
It's important to know the hazards you may face as you put together an emergency preparedness plan.

The list for hazards in Utah is already extensive: fires, floods, tornadoes, other high winds, severe winter storms, landslide, lightning, earthquakes or pestilence. Elsewhere, the list gets even longer, including tsunamis, hurricanes, storm surges and volcanoes.

During the past year, the wildfire season was devastating for some communities, burning homes and grazing land. But in their scorched wake, wildfires leave behind another danger, currently buried under the snow.

Anyone who lives below an area scorched by wildfire should be aware he or she may be in the path of what we call a debris flow — a soggy hill of rock, mud and water rushing downhill toward a more stable location. Unfortunately, we saw what can happen in a debris flow in Saratoga Springs in the fall of 2012.
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