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Board of health seeks disaster response plan

PROVO — The Utah County Board of Health has asked emergency response planners to gather information on how the health department would respond in a natural disaster or emergency of Hurricane Katrina proportions.

The board hopes for a physical plan or a pamphlet for the public to assure that the health department, local law enforcement, and other local and state agencies understand their roles in disasters.

The state has a physical plan for disasters, said health department spokesman Lance Madigan. Counties have "mutual aid" agreements to help each other in crisis. Utah County Health Department officials have discussed the possibilities of mass casualties and how milk and refrigerated trucks would serve as morgues, but no contracts have been made with private trucking companies.

Orem Mayor Jerry Washburn, a member of the health board, believes the public needs to know about plans because a disaster in Utah will likely result from an earthquake, which is different than a hurricane because there is no forewarning and evacuations.