Fire safety a ‘shared responsibility’ say power company and Sandy fire departmentJul 01, 2022 09:48AM ● By Heather Lawrence
By Heather Lawrence | [email protected]
Wild fire risk hit home for Salt Lake County when wildfires started along the edge of the Great Salt Lake on June 17. Sandy Fire Department and Rocky Mountain Power both said that common sense and preparation will help keep residents prevent wildfires and stay safe during power outages.
Safely discharging fireworks is one way residents can help.
“Fireworks are only allowed to be discharged in Sandy City in certain areas. Go to www.Sandy.Utah.gov under the fire department website, and you’ll be able to find maps to tell you which areas,” said Sandy Battalion Chief Robert DeKorver on a YouTube video “Safe in 60 Seconds—Fireworks.”
Aerial fireworks are allowed but only in certain areas. A warning label that says “shoots flaming balls” means that it’s an aerial.
Fireworks are allowed July 2-5 and July 22-25. You can report illegal firework discharges to the non-emergency SLC Police Department line at 801-799-3000 or Sandy Police non-emergency dispatch line at 801-568-7200.
Rocky Mountain Power also encourages people to prepare for summer. Drought, combined with summer windstorms or active fires like the ones near the Great Salt Lake could lead to power outages.
“We’re building our system to be more resilient long term, providing value to our customers for years to come,” said Curtis Mansfield in a press release. Mansfield is senior vice president of power and delivery.
Mansfield said they’ve invested millions of dollars in a system with wildfire mitigation strategies.
“This includes round-the-clock reporting of weather conditions; rebuilding portions of the grid with equipment upgrades; and using technology to monitor the system, while increasing inspections and vegetation maintenance on our lines,” Mansfield said.
Jasen Lee works in media relations at Rocky Mountain Power and is a Sandy resident. He said a lot of fire prevention is common sense.
“We need to be cognizant of what we’re doing. If you live closer to the benches, it’s drier and the risk is higher. Since Sandy is densely populated, we should be very careful about what we’re doing.
“Avoid doing anything that would create sparks or send up embers. It’s a courtesy to our neighbors,” Lee said.
Lee said prolonged drought means people should be vigilant in how they behave. Rocky Mountain Power has invested a lot of money in technology, but they need help from residents.
“We don’t want to inadvertently create a fire. We’re proactive in what we’re doing, we want our customers to do that as well,” Lee said.
Rocky Mountain Power said that customers can update their account information and get alerts and messages in case of an emergency or outage. They encouraged customers to make an outage kit.
Kits should include shelf-stable food and water for people and pets. Also pack flashlights, batteries and battery-powered fans during summer. Keep written lists of important information. Know how to manually open things like power-operated gates.
“Customers who rely on electricity to store medication or operate medical equipment at home should enroll in the Medical Certificate Program to receive proactive communications about outages,” they said.
Lee was reminded at the Utah Lineman’s Rodeo on June 11 in West Valley City that keeping our area safe and supplied with power is a hands-on job, done by skilled linemen[LL1] .
The Sandy campus of SLCC is where many of these linemen are trained. They held an apprentice level rodeo on May 20. In rodeos linemen show off their skills, demonstrate safety and compete against each other. Rhett Bigelow is a program coordinator for SLCC.
“This is an essential job, literally they help keep the lights on—and it is one of the top five most dangerous jobs in the nation. This is not a job for the faint of heart. It is an exceptional commitment to what they do to the communities they serve,” Bigelow said.
Rocky Mountain Power said sharing the responsibility for safety is one way customers can help them.
“Even as electric providers partner with federal, state and local agencies to plan and get ready for wildfire season, preparedness is a shared responsibility. Helpful information is available to help every customer take steps to plan ahead and be ready for wildfire-related power outages,” Rocky Mountain Power said.