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Lone Peak firefighters dedicate Tibble Fork emergency phone

By Genelle Pugmire daily Herald - | Nov 7, 2015
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Mikayla Cox, sister of Ashleigh Cox, hugs Lone Peak Fire Chief Brad Freeman after the dedication of a new emergency telephone on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015, at Tibble Fork Reservoir in American Fork Canyon. The new emergency telephone at the popular recreation spot is dedicated to Ashleigh Cox, who was killed in an avalanche in the area in February 2014. SPENSER HEAPS, Daily Herald

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A memorial to Ashleigh Cox and a new emergency telephone were unveiled on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015, at Tibble Fork Reservoir in American Fork Canyon. The new emergency telephone at the popular recreation spot is dedicated to Ashleigh Cox, who was killed in an avalanche in the area in February 2014. SPENSER HEAPS, Daily Herald

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Family members of Ashleigh Cox, from left, sister Mikayla Cox, mother Jamie and father Dennis, bow their heads for a prayer at a ceremony marking the opening of a new emergency telephone on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015 at Tibble Fork Reservoir in American Fork Canyon. The new emergency telephone at the popular recreation spot is dedicated to Ashleigh Cox, who was killed in an avalanche in the area in February 2014. SPENSER HEAPS, Daily Herald

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Dennis Cox, father of Ashleigh Cox, speaks at the dedication of a new emergency phone on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015, at Tibble Fork Reservoir in American Fork Canyon. The new emergency telephone at the popular recreation spot is dedicated to Ashleigh Cox, who was killed in an avalanche in the area in February 2014. SPENSER HEAPS, Daily Herald

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Lone Peak Fire Chief Brad Freeman points to a radio relay high on a nearby mountain that provides a signal for a new emergency telephone on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015, at Tibble Fork Reservoir in American Fork Canyon. The new emergency telephone at the popular recreation spot is dedicated to Ashleigh Cox, who was killed in an avalanche in the area in February 2014. SPENSER HEAPS, Daily Herald

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Family members of Ashleigh Cox, from left, sister Mikayla, father Dennis, mother Jamie, brother Ryan and sister Allison, during the dedication of a new emergency phone on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015, at Tibble Fork Reservoir in American Fork Canyon. The new emergency telephone at the popular recreation spot is dedicated to Ashleigh Cox, who was killed in an avalanche in the area in February 2014. SPENSER HEAPS, Daily Herald

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A monument for Ashleigh Cox is placed near the new emergency phone on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015, at Tibble Fork Reservoir in American Fork Canyon. The new emergency telephone at the popular recreation spot is dedicated to Cox, who was killed in an avalanche in the area in February 2014. SPENSER HEAPS, Daily Herald

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A man fishes from a small boat on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015, at Tibble Fork Reservoir in American Fork Canyon.  

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<h3>Alone, yet not cut off 

A man fishes from a small boat on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015, at Tibble Fork Reservoir in American Fork Canyon. The new emergency telephone at the popular recreation spot allows people to enjoy the quiet of this spot, but still be able to get in touch with the outside world in case of emergency. The phone is dedicated to Ashleigh Cox, who was killed in an avalanche in the area in February 2014. For more on the story, to go http://bit.ly/1MtKHIU.

It took two years of planning, raising money and signing agreements, but on Saturday, Lone Peak firefighters held a grand ribbon cutting for a telephone.

Not just any phone. This phone is a direct connection to Valley Dispatch from the Tibble Fork Canyon parking lot. Valley Dispatch handles all police and fire calls for the area. They in turn will contact Lone Peak dispatch to alert them to medical issues in the canyon.

“It’s more of a button,” said Chief Brad Freeman. “It will cut down response time by at least 15 minutes.”

The phone was installed last week and is now fully functioning.

Approximately $40,000 worth of technical equipment was donated to the effort from Live View Technology in Salt Lake City. The Utah County Sheriff’s office will be responding on 911 calls and hang-up calls and will be assisting Lone Peak with search and rescue efforts.

The push for the phone has been around for a while, but the untimely death of a 21-year-old Brigham Young University student, Ashleigh Nicole Cox, spurred efforts to a new level.

Cox lost her life Feb. 8, 2014, while snowshoeing with friends in a deep gully near the Tibble Fork Reservoir.

Bystanders who saw an avalanche sweep her into a creek, where she drowned, had to drive down the canyon to get cell service while others tried to rescue her.

In June, the Lone Peak Public Safety District board members approved an agreement between the National Forest Service and Lone Peak Fire and Rescue to allow firefighters to install the emergency phone at the Tibble Fork parking lot.

“As members of the board we have been concerned about safety in that area,” Tim Irwin, LPPSD board chairman, said at the time. “We have not been able to get quick response because the people who have an emergency have to drive all the way down to the base of the canyon to get phone service. This phone will give us a much quicker opportunity to respond, and we believe that it will save lives.”

While Tibble Fork is known for being a great place for winter activities, Freeman said the greatest number of incidents come from ATV and motorcycle accidents. There are also several sleigh ride accidents over the reservoir.

“We have over 1 million visitors who recreate, have accidents and falls, and different kinds of events,” Freeman said.

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