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Mountain West Region Lags In Emergency Preparedness


When it comes to being prepared for an emergency, much of our region lags behind the rest of the country. That's according to a new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The foundation looked at every state and rated them on a variety of things from the conditions of their bridges to flu vaccination rates. Each state was given a score between zero and ten. With the exception of Colorado and Utah, mountain west states all come in somewhere below the national average of 7.1.     

Head researcher Glen Mays said one reason for our region’s low scores is our environment--think floods and fires.

"Whether we’re talking about fires," said Mays, "a number of states struggle with larger, more intense fires that can threaten populations, both from the fire itself or from smoke, or being able to evacuate."

He also said energy development in the region like mining leads to an increased risk of water contamination. 

Mays added that states with populations spread across larger areas have struggled for a long time to get protections in place for everybody.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, Yellowstone Public Radio in Montana, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.

Maggie Mullen is Wyoming Public Radio's regional reporter with the Mountain West News Bureau. Her work has aired on NPR, Marketplace, Science Friday, and Here and Now. She was awarded a 2019 regional Edward R. Murrow Award for her story on the Black 14.
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