The Preparedness Buzz from the Beehive State

Welcome to another special addition of my blog.

This week I’m in a state that I’ve never had the pleasure to visit before now, and boy am I glad I’m here!  This week I’m in the gorgeous state of Utah.  More specifically, I’m in Salt Lake City, Utah.  It is one of the prettiest areas I’ve been to.  I’m here with my good friend and co-instructor “Wilson” teaching another round of Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program Manager and Train-the-Trainer classes for the State Department of Public Safety – Division of Emergency Management.  This week, I’ll again be writing several blog posts from Salt Lake City to share with you what’s going on in class as well as around the state.  I hope you’ll check back often.

Why the “Beehive” state?

Salt Lake City is the state capital of Utah.  On January 4, 1896 Utah became the country’s 45th state.  The name “Utah” comes from the Native American “Ute” tribe and means people of the mountains.

The beehive was chosen as the emblem for the provisional State of Deseret in 1848 and was maintained on the seal of the State of Utah when Utah became a state in 1896.  The State of Deseret was a provisional state of the United States, proposed in 1849 by Latter-day Saints settlers in Salt Lake City. The provisional state existed for slightly over two years and was never recognized by the United States government. The name derives from the word for “honeybee” in the Book of Mormon. The beehive became the official state emblem on March 4, 1959. Utahans relate the beehive symbol to industry and the pioneer virtues of thrift and perseverance.

The scenery here in Salt Lake City is awesome.  Everywhere we look, we see mountains, and some of them still have snow on them.  The highest point in the state is Kings Peak which is in the Uinta Mountains located in Duchesne County in the Northeast part of the state kings Peak reaches an unbelievable 13,528 ft. On the other end of the scale is Beaver Dam Wash which is near St. George in Washington County in the state’s southwest quadrant and is a modest 2, 350 ft.

Utah Citizens Volunteer

According to the annual 2010 report “Volunteering in America” published by the Corporation for National and Community Service’

  • The top five states by volunteer rate are Utah (44.5%), Iowa (37.9%), Minnesota (37.5%), Nebraska (37.4%), and South Dakota (37.2%)
  • For the fifth year in row, the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area ranks number one for volunteerism among large cities with a 37.1 percent volunteer rate. Other top serving large cities include: Portland, Ore. (36.2%), Salt Lake City, Utah (34.1%), Seattle, Wash. (33.9%), and Rochester, N.Y. (33.8%)
  • Among 75 mid-sized cites, Provo, Utah led the nation for the fourth year in a row with a volunteer rate of 61%, followed by Ogden, Utah (52.2%), Iowa City, Iowa (50.9%), Boulder, Colo. (44.8%), and Fort Collins, Colo (42.2%)

Meet our class

Similar to many of the other classes I’ve written about previously, this week we are teaching both the CERT Program Manager and Train-the-Trainer classes for the State Department of Public Safety – Division of Emergency Management.  Today we started the Program Manager class.  We have over 40 students in the class.  In the past, Utah has trained a lot – and I mean a LOT – of CERT folks and trainers (about 63,000 in Basic CERT and about 750 CERT instructors).  CERT continues to be viewed as a valuable preparedness tool throughout the state.  Therefore, in an effort to more effectively deliver CERT training throughout the state, the state recently changed their training delivery strategy.  With our class, the state assembled a cadre of high-quality instructors from around the state, and anticipates using this cadre for all future deliveries of CERT Train-the-Trainer as well as the Basic CERT.

Faith-based support

In 1847 the Mormons migrated to Utah searching for a religious sanctuary in the remote West.  They migrated in large numbers, laid out communities, built homes and churches, established farms supported by an irrigation system, skirmished with the native people, achieved territorial status in 1850, and generally prospered. Non-Mormons came too, especially after precious metals were discovered in the 1860s, and they added diversification to Utah’s society. By the time of statehood in 1896, the total population approached a quarter of a million people.

Utah is the most religiously homogeneous state in the Union. Approximately 60% of Utahans are reported to be members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), which greatly influences Utah culture and daily life.

I learned today that within the state of Utah the LDS church has taken on a leadership role in initial recruiting of CERT volunteers within the state.  In many instances, the local leadership of the church, being encouraged by the church hierarchy – actively recruits people to become block captains within their local church boundaries and also take the CERT training.  Once these block captains are trained, they are then are encouraged to join local community (local city and county government) CERT teams.

Here’s some pictures from the day.  I hope you enjoy them and will check back again tomorrow to see what else is going on.  Till then … be safe!

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