Emergency Management Menu

Utah Responds to #Harvey

view of tropical storm harvey from space courtesy of NASA

Photo credit: NASA Astronaut Randy Bresnik

Hurricane Harvey has caused devastation on the Gulf Coast in Texas. A disaster, by definition, is an event that overwhelms your resources.

So Utah is helping

First, see what you can do to help. Then, scroll down to see who from the Beehive State is helping in Texas and also to see how our own state is getting ready for disasters.

How You Can Help

Thank you for your generosity in donating to relief organizations that are on the ground and doing tremendous work alongside the first responders in Houston, Harris County and throughout southeastern Texas.

Here’s how to donate responsibly to the relief effort.



Whether you want to donate cash, goods, or services to assist in the Hurricane Harvey response, make sure you do so responsibly. Unsolicited donations can cause a “second disaster” you can read about in this CBS News report from 2016.

Watch this video and learn the safest and most effective ways to donate or volunteer with these FEMA guidelines below:


  • Cash is the most efficient method of donating. Cash offers voluntary agencies the most flexibility in obtaining needed resources and pumps money into the local economy to help businesses recover.
  • Donate through a trusted organization. Find trusted national and state level agencies to donate or volunteer from the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.
  • Affiliate with existing non-profit organizations before coming to the disaster area. Contact and affiliate with an established organization to ensure that you receive training to respond in the most effective way.
  • Be safe. Do not self-deploy. Wait until it is safe to travel to volunteer sites and authorities identify opportunities to help.
  • Be patient. There will be volunteer needs for many months, often years, after the disaster.

If you need help in determining who to give to, the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster website has a list of major non-profits active in disaster work or contact your FEMA Voluntary Agency Liaison for guidance. For more information, visit www.fema.gov/volunteer-donate-responsibly.

Remember, it’s best to donate cash, and not stuff, to relief organizations.

Utah’s Deployed Teams

The only State resources that were requested were a couple of Blackhawk helicopters from the Utah National Guard. They deployed August 26 and returned September 8. Utah DEM stands ready to assist through coordination of resources should more requests come in.

Two federal teams composed of Utahns deployed to Texas:

Utah Task Force 1 (Deployed August 27 – Returned September 6)

Utah Task Force 1 is one of 28 specialized urban search and rescue teams in the United States. Our team is sponsored by the Unified Fire Authority of Greater Salt Lake. Here’s the story on their return (Fox 13).

UT-1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team (Deployed August 29 – Returned )

The Disaster Medical Assistance Team, or DMAT, is composed of medical professionals who can help with emergency medical needs. They are expected to augment hospital staffs or assist with moving patients when needed.

The team’s 36 members consist of physicians, nurses, paramedics, emergency medical technicians and other medical specialists. The unit is designed to be self-sufficient for 72 hours with supplies including food and medicine. The team’s primary mission is to supplement the medical needs in the areas heavily impacted by the hurricane. Utah’s team was formed ten years ago and until now, had never been deployed as a whole team. 
members of the utah disaster medical assistance team pose for a group photo in their uniforms

Utah’s DMAT Team

Other Deployments We’re Aware Of

American Red Cross (updated August 26)

The Red Cross has also sent volunteers to help in a variety of capacities. Two emergency response vehicles and 18 volunteers from the Utah Red Cross had deployed to Texas to help provide shelter and other services and cleaning supplies

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (updated August 30)

Nine trucks filled with supplies from the Church’s Bishops’ Central Storehouse and Humanitarian Center in Salt Lake City have arrived or are on their way with water; hygiene kits; food, including fresh milk; cleaning supplies; clothing; diapers and wipes. One additional truck will also be sent to Houston.

The Church is also assisting the Red Cross and Convoy of Hope in their relief efforts to help the thousands of displaced people in Texas with food, water, cleaning kits and hygiene items. The Church is also partnering with Adventist Community Services in Houston.

Water and hygiene kits have been delivered to the San Antonio Food Bank and Red Cross.

Upcoming Training – Utah Prepare Conference and Expo

Utah DEM, Be Ready Utah, Utah State University Extension, Fox 13 and KBYU have sponsored this annual conference and expo to teach the public how to be ready for emergencies of all types.

Who’s it for: Everyone
When: Sept. 8-9
Where: South Towne Expo Center, Sandy
Information and registration: UtahPrepare.org

Upcoming Training – Utah Legal Issues in Disasters Workshop

Coming up in September, Utah DEM and the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office are co-hosting this workshop.

This one and a half day workshop will showcase presentations from national leaders on how to deal effectively with crisis and disaster events. Presentations will show the long-term impacts of disasters and how communities can lessen their risks and liability.

Who’s it for: Emergency managers, lawyers, community officials, etc.
When: Sept. 13-14
Where: Viridian event center, 8030 South 1825 West, West Jordan
Registration: Eventbrite

National Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month to help you get ready for emergencies.

We have all sorts of preparedness resources at BeReadyUtah.gov

Compiled by Joe Dougherty, public information officer
Utah Division of Emergency Management

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