The Boy Scout motto is Be Prepared, meaning one is ready, willing and able to do whatever is necessary in any situation that comes along. As a city, we have always subscribed to this wisdom, preparing ourselves for potential crises by training our employees, practicing fiscal responsibility, creating emergency management plans and coordinating with agencies for potential relief aid.
Sadly, on Friday, January 27, our preparation was put to the test when a four-alarm fire destroyed most of our public works facility along with half of our snow plow fleet. The accidental fire was contained by 100 firefighters and 20 trucks from multiple jurisdictions that quickly came to our aid.
Losing half of your snow plow fleet in the midst of winter is not an ideal situation, to say the least, but I was proud of our employees as they quickly rallied to ensure resident services were not impacted.
Amazingly, our crews worked over the weekend and had power restored by the following Monday morning at 8 am, with the shop able to provide services, as usual. And, more importantly, we were able to execute a plan that enabled us to completely replenish our snow plow fleet in time for the next snow storm one week later.
While we are covered by insurance, there will be deductibles and expenses to rebuild. As such, the City Council approved a resolution for the necessity to begin ordering our replacement permanent fleet. In the meantime, we are able to meet resident’s snow plow needs with our temporary fleet, provided primarily through our well-planned participation with the Utah Public Works Mutual Aid Alliance and by retrofitting existing trucks with snow plow equipment.
I could not be more proud of the speed and efficiency with which we dealt with this disaster. Our first priority is our residents and their safety and it was through advance emergency disaster planning, existing aid agreements and hard work that we were able to achieve that goal.
And lastly, thank you to all of you for your kind words of support. We’ve been overwhelmed by the response we’ve received on Facebook after the fire, with our posts reaching almost 14,000 residents. We received numerous supportive comments and reactions, like this resident: “Sandy City is an amazing place to live. I am so grateful for all of the public works employees who work diligently to provide us services that we do not think twice about. This type of devastation truly makes us appreciate what an amazing city we have. I am proud to that my city uses my taxes wisely investing in our future. This will be difficult to overcome, but I know that the leaders and citizens of Sandy can face any obstacle placed before them.”