During the record-setting floods last August, Grand County’s emergency alert system failed to notify residents of flooding. There was also a clear lack of direction, Moab Mayor Joette Langianese said at the time: “I felt like there was nobody leading the show,” she said. “And I think it really showed, very loudly, and very clearly, that we have really got to make some corrections in our emergency response.”
Now, there will be someone leading the show. Cora Phillips is the county’s new, full-time Emergency Manager, a position within the Grand County Sheriff’s Office.
“A lot of my job is coordination—bringing all of the players together,” she said. “The other component is writing plans and getting everyone at the table and involved in that, so not only is there a plan in place, but people know what is written in those plans.”
Phillips introduced herself during the Feb. 14 City Council meeting by first laying out her goals: she wants to establish increased communication from emergency management to residents, improve interoperability (the exchange of information between computer systems or software), and improve community preparedness.
In the position so far, Phillips said, she has established better emergency management training for sheriff’s deputies, trained command staff on how to initiate alerts through the county’s alert system, and has started to “evaluate opportunities to improve overall community preparedness.”
Residents are encouraged to subscribe to the county’s improved alert system: you can sign up at www.GrandCountyAlerts.org to receive alerts about any public safety threat, such as flooding. The system will utilize a geofence to send out text alerts to anyone within the county; it will also notify all subscribers, even those who are outside of the geofence.
Phillips is also updating the county’s Emergency Operations Plan and Hazard Mitigation Plan.