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What are Emergency Ribbons and Why Do We Need Them?

Updated: May 8

What are Emergency Ribbons and why do we need them?

These are Emergency Ribbons.  They would be used if there were a widespread emergency that caused damage to your home and/or family, like an earthquake or other natural disaster, also for practice drills like, "The Great Utah Shakeout". 

After checking your home and securing your family’s immediate safety, you would post the applicable ribbon of your circumstance on the doorknob, light fixture, light post, fence or mailbox so that your Block Captain will see what is happening in your household from the road, report it up the proper channels (walkie talkie) to your Precinct Comms.

The procedure of reporting:

The Block Captain reports the ribbon color posted to the Precinct Comms (Communication Person) via walkie talkie, HAM radio, or by foot, where it is recorded, then the Precinct Comms reports the ribbon status of each home in the precinct to the District Comms. 

The District Comms reports to the City via HAM Radio, Packet,  D-Star or any other system they have set up.  

This information is very useful.  As the information is received at the Precinct Command Post, then becomes clear to see which areas of each neighborhood in the city is hit the hardest and which ones are ok.   


This information will be used to dispatch your neighborhood CERT Search and Rescue Team and volunteers to assist those neighbors as soon as possible.  Keep in mind that First Responders will go to schools, community gathering places first. We may be on our own for the first 72 hours - 5 days or longer.

When the information gets to the city, via HAM Radio, it will populate a map that the City GIS Specialist has previously set up.  As information comes in, the map will populate and dispatch and response priority will be made clear.

Calling 911 may not be an option, as lines will most likely be jammed.  Responsibility lies with each individual family, neighborhood (Precinct) to be prepared in their own homes and neighborhoods.

The City of Cottonwood Heights has taken the responsibility of purchasing supplies for  Emergency Ribbons for it's residents.

Emergency Ribbons will be distributed to Cottonwood Heights residents through their District and Precinct Leader from the City

Block Captains will receive Emergency Ribbons from their Precinct Leader.

 Block Captains will then deliver Emergency Ribbons to all the neighbors on their block explaining their usage. 

Block Captains may check with the Precinct Leader to obtain ribbons for new move ins.

Emergency Ribbons will be used every year for Shake-Out currently held in April.  Precincts may use them for practice drills so be sure to keep them.

Store your Emergency Ribbons in a ziplock bag and tape it to the inside of a kitchen cabinet that you see all the time and will remember in the event they will be needed.

These are the instructions that go with the Emergency Ribbons for each household.

Emergency Ribbon Instructions

Home Occupant

Enclosed are four ribbons

Display the top priority color ribbon concerning your status in front of your home visible from the street in case of a natural  disaster or area emergency so your Block Captain and CERT Team members can report and respond to your status

Put this packet in an easy to remember spot, perhaps in a ziplock bag taped inside a kitchen cabinet door that gets used a lot so you know right where it is in the event of an actual disaster or emergency, neighborhood practice drill or Shakeout exercise 

Red: A Life threatening situation in your home

Yellow:  A medical problem, but not life threatening

Green:  Display when there are no medical situations

Black:  A death in your home

If you move, please contact your Block Captain to let them know so your ribbons may be replaced for the new occupant

Emergency Ribbon Instructions.docx
Download PDF • 42KB

This is our Emergency Ribbon Supplier

 Custom Caution Tape

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