Questions were asked regarding the focus at the beginning of the evacuation, during the evacuation, and after the evacuation. The purpose of the questions was to determine how the focus of an incident changes as the incident evolves. Predominately, the focus at the beginning of the evacuation was notifying people, getting the citizens out of harm’s way, and making sure the public was safe.During the evacuation, the focus varied depending on the position of the interviewee. Responses varied from:
- Keeping the drinking wells safe with the contamination on the ground. Residents may have contaminated water when they return – South Salt Lake City Fire Department.
- Keeping unauthorized people and “rubberneckers” out of the evacuated areas – South Salt Lake City Police Department.
- Providing security for the evacuated area – South Salt Lake City Police Department.
Notifying people that they could return home. They had no idea where people went, so the media was used to alert residents of their ability to return home – Police Department.
- Providing traffic control for the return of residents – Police Department.
In this incident, two interstates were closed, and as a result, the focus of the Utah Department of Transportation was on traffic management. At the start of the closure, the focus was on ensuring the interstate ramps were closed, ensuring the right ramps were closed, and determining where to put the displaced traffic.
After the interstate closed, the focus was on educating the public about the closures and maneuvering around the area. During the incident, there was a worry about impacting the Monday morning commute. The Utah Department of Transportation thought that the interstate closure may have to be moved further back (in terms of distance) to move traffic onto roadways other than a collector street. However, the interstates were re-opened before the morning commute.
At the end of the incident, the focus was on how quickly traffic management could be restored.
February 6, 2006