OKLAHOMA EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT WEEK IS MARCH 11-17
Emergency managers from across state will be at Capitol on Tuesday
This week, communities all across Oklahoma will join in recognizing emergency managers at city, county and state levels and the more than $988 million in disaster aid their efforts have delivered since 2000. Governor Mary Fallin has proclaimed March 11-17 as Emergency Management Week and similar proclamations have been issued locally.
Oklahoma’s disaster history stands as a reminder of the trying conditions that can be delivered by natural and man-made emergencies, explained Albert Ashwood, director, Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM). “Whether it’s last spring’s tornadoes or the harsh wildfire season the state recently experienced, Oklahoma emergency managers are often called upon to work around the clock doing what they do best – supporting response and recovery efforts by coordinating the delivery of vital resources,” said Ashwood. Oklahoma ranks third in the nation in the number of presidentially declared disasters, behind Texas and California, respectively.
On Tuesday, March 13, emergency managers will take their message of disaster preparedness to the State Capitol. The Oklahoma Emergency Management Association is hosting the event designed to deliver discussion on the response, recovery, preparedness and mitigation efforts of emergency managers. A Legislative Reception featuring displays illustrating the work of emergency managers will be held from 2 to 3:30 p.m. in the Fourth Floor Rotunda.
- Emergency managers will be at the Capitol from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
- A legislative reception is scheduled from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. in the Fourth Floor Rotunda.
- The reception will feature displays illustrating the work of emergency management – work that has delivered more than $946 million in disaster relief since 2000.
Emergency managers exist at the federal level through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), at the state level through OEM and at the local level representing municipalities and counties. Many schools and tribal nations also have emergency managers. Many of today’s emergency managers are yesterday’s civil defense workers. Emergency managers support response and recovery efforts during disaster times by working behind the scenes to coordinate the identification, deployment and use of needed resources by police, fire and other emergency responders.
In the last few years alone, emergency managers helped Oklahomans during tornadoes, floods, ice storms, hail storms, blizzards, wildfires, and drought conditions. They helped deliver drinking water, food and shelter to those who had none, additional law enforcement and fire suppression where the flames threatened lives and homes, and hay to livestock where the ground was snow-covered.
Emergency managers also work year round to prevent and decrease the effects of disasters through mitigation projects. Since 2002, more than $124 million in mitigation funds have provided residential safe room rebates, school safe rooms; reverse 911 systems; acquisition of repetitive loss properties; NOAA weather radios; and community hazard mitigation plans.