On Thursday, June 13, Madison County hosted an Emergency Preparedness Forum where they detailed ways they keep the county safe and prepared.
On June 18, Rexburg had a tornado warning as well as some severe storms.
“Keep a good heads up,” said Robert Kohler, the emergency manager for Madison County. “If there’s an emergency, don’t come towards it.”
Kohler said BYU-Idaho students can prepare for emergencies by starting an emergency savings account and preparing a 72-hour kit.
John Lewis, Health Services faculty member, said a 72-hour kit makes a huge difference.
Beginning in the fall semester, BYU-I will require Public Health Majors to take an Emergency Management class which Lewis will teach in Fall 2019.
The Emergency Management class focuses on health workers and their roles in an emergency with a unit on personal preparedness.
Kohler said students should always listen to authority figures in an emergency.
“Follow the instructions even if it might not make sense,” Kohler said.
Lewis said it’s important to keep your car at a half-tank of gas and to keep your phone charged.
In case of a power outage, Lewis said people should get solar chargers for their cellphones.
“Always sleep with a pair of shoes next to your bed, so that if an earthquake happens, you won’t have to step on falling debris as you’re going outside,” Lewis said.
Lewis also counsels students to always keep cash on hand in case the bank tellers go down in an emergency.
Another good resource is BYU-I’s emergency preparedness website.
This website has information for three types of emergencies: safety and security, natural disasters and health risks. The website also contains important emergency contact numbers.
In Rexburg, the most common threats that students will face are severe weather, thunderstorms, snowstorms and wildfires. They also may see earthquakes and floods, Kohler said.
“In Idaho, it’s mainly earthquakes and floods,” Lewis said. “Floods are the number one disaster in the world.”
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has a free app students can download to receive real-time alerts from the National Weather Service, learn emergency safety tips and locate emergency shelters.
At the forum, Sam Paris, a firefighter and a Red Cross volunteer, introduced the Sound the Alarm Program. This program provides homes with free smoke alarms and free installation.
Especially in single-family residences, a lot of homes don’t have any smoke alarms, and that is what this program is trying to fix.
To learn more about Sound the Alarm, visit their website.
Dale Pickering, the fire inspector, counseled the community on how to keep their homes safe from wildfires. He said a home should have only non-combustibles within a four feet radius and should only have limited combustibles in a four to 30 feet radius.
For more information on Madison County emergencies, contact Kohler at (208)-359-3010.