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UTAH COUNTY SIGNS PACTS WITH WASATCH AND TOOELE

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Utah County residents will be better prepared for a major disaster thanks to two recently approved agreements with neighboring counties.

County commissioners approved an agreement last week with Wasatch County to share emergency personnel, equipment, supplies and facilities during major disasters. Commissioners also approved an agreement with Tooele County that will help warn north Utah County residents if a chemical leak occurs at Tooele Army Depot."These agreements just give us a little more protection if there's a disaster," said Dick Casto, county director of emergency management.

Precipitated by the 1990 brush fire near Midway that killed two firefighters and sent many fleeing from their homes, the mutual-aid agreement between Wasatch and Utah counties calls for the sharing of services and manpower when the need in one county exceeds its resources. The agreement also calls for each county to make facilities such as schools and churches available to the other county for the caring of evacuees and injured people.

"They'll give whatever help they can, and we'll give whatever help we can," Casto said.

The second agreement gives Tooele County access to Utah County's Lake Mountain communications complex for the operation of a siren warning system in case of a leak while chemical stockpiles are being destroyed at Tooele Army Depot. The U.S. Army plans to destroy chemical weapons at the Tooele site from February 1995 to the year 2005.

Utah County installed warning sirens in the rural communities of Fairfield and Cedar Fort last year to warn north Utah County residents in case of a leak. The county also conducted disaster training seminars in communities around Lehi.

"The Army said no chemical leak will ever reach Utah County, but we believe there is a potential threat there and we're taking the necessary precautions," Casto said.