OKLAHOMA EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT WEEK IS FEBRUARY 18-24
Next week communities all across Oklahoma will join in recognizing emergency managers at city, county and state levels and the more than $500 million in disaster aid their efforts have delivered in recent years. Gov. Brad Henry has proclaimed Feb. 18-24 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 the most recent ice storm response and recovery work, last year?s wildfires or Delaware County tornado, 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.
On Tuesday, Feb. 20, 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 will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. in the fourth floor Rotunda.
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 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, ice storms, wildfires, floods, hazardous materials incidents, a school shooting, drought conditions, and the I-40 bridge collapse. They helped get 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 like repetitive flood property buy-out programs, disaster exercises, training activities and the safe room rebate program.