Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Situation Update 32
January 21, 2007 -- 7 p.m.
STATE/FEDERAL ICE STORM RESPONSE CONTINUES
The State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) remains activated due to winter weather conditions that continue to impact areas of Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) is in contact with emergency managers in the affected areas and has received the following reports.
Injuries and Fatalities
- Since the winter weather system first impacted the state Jan. 12, there have been 26 deaths attributed to the storm -- 16 motor vehicle accidents, 7 hypothermia, 2 smoke inhalation and 1 fall -- according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) and Oklahoma Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
- OHP reports a total of 495 collisions on Oklahoma roads since Jan. 12.
- 3,073 people have been treated at Oklahoma hospitals for various injuries related to current weather conditions, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH).
State and Federal Assistance
- On Jan. 14, Pres. George W. Bush approved an emergency declaration for all 77 Oklahoma counties. The emergency declaration covers federal assistance for federal assets necessary to continue to respond to the needs of the state and communities affected by the ice storm. It also covers 75 percent reimbursement for emergency protective measures performed by local and state personnel. Gov. Brad Henry requested federal aid after it became clear the state would need federal support to deliver assistance to storm victims across Oklahoma.
- OEM continues to coordinate the delivery of disaster relief efforts to alleviate the hardship and suffering caused by the ice storm. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials are working with the state to identify, mobilize, and provide necessary equipment and resources.
- Since Wednesday, OEM and FEMA have worked to deliver more than 870,000 one-liter bottles of drinking water to communities impacted by the storm. Bottled water continues to arrive at staging locations in McAlester, Muskogee, Jay, Miami and Pryor.
- OEM, Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT), Oklahoma National Guard, FEMA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have delivered more than 125 generators to keep water treatment plants on line and shelter and hospital doors open. Please note: These generators are not available to individuals.
- OSDH public health nurses have been deployed to assist at all American Red Cross shelters statewide.
- Today joint preliminary damage assessment teams continued to survey damage in the affected areas of Delaware, McIntosh, Muskogee and Pittsburg counties. The teams include county and city officials as well as representatives of OEM and FEMA. The teams are documenting damage to public facilities, roads and bridges as well as damage to the electric cooperative system and the costs associated with debris removal. Teams are also documenting uninsured damages to homes and businesses. Initial damage assessments are being completed in the four hardest hit counties. Beginning Monday, other counties will be surveyed.
- In addition to OEM, the Oklahoma Military Department, Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, ODOT, OSDH, Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, OHP, Oklahoma Corporation Commission, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, FEMA, Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives, OG&E, American Red Cross and The Salvation Army are represented in the State EOC.
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission reports statewide, about 25,144 customers are without power. Extreme muddy conditions, brought on by melting snow and ice, continue to provide difficulty for some power restoration crews. In some locations, meters are pulled away from homes and other structures and will require property owners to hire electricians before power can be restored safely.
- PSO reports 3,976 customers are without power throughout the state. Most of PSO's outages remain in McAlester, where 3,960 customers are without power. Wilburton has 16 power outages.
- OG&E reports 3,776 customers are without power. The largest OG&E outage is in Muskogee where 3,564 are without power. Other outages are reported in Boynton, Council Hill and Porum.
- Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives (OAEC) reports 17,192 electric cooperative customers are without power. OAEC reports more than 3,600 utility poles are down across the cooperative service area. Below is a list of electric cooperatives, the location of their office and the number of power outages.
Canadian Valley (Seminole) - 8
Cookson Hills Electric Cooperative (Stigler) - 400
East Central Oklahoma Electric Cooperative (Okmulgee) - 3,000
Kiamichi Electric Cooperative (Wilburton) - 2,591
Lake Region Electric Cooperative (Hulbert) - 2,560
Northeast Oklahoma Electric Cooperative (Vinita) - 8,354
People's Electric Cooperative (Ada) - 279
Pryor Municipal Utility Board 200
Shelters and Mass Care
American Red Cross is operating shelters in the following locations:
Checotah -- Multi-Purpose Building
Grove -- Grove Civic Center
Jay -- Fire Station
Kansas -- NE Vo-tech School
Langley -- First Christian Church
Locust Grove -- Fire Department
Muskogee -- Muskogee Recreation Center
Pryor -- Grand Memorial Auditorium
Tahlequah -- First United Methodist Church Activities Building
Wagoner -- First United Methodist Church
American Red Cross is also operating a feeding station in McAlester at the First Baptist Church. Since Jan. 12, they have provided 4,742 overnight stays, 963 hygiene comfort kits and 46,029 meals and snacks in communities impacted by the ice storm.
Since Jan. 14, The Salvation Army has served more than 11,500 meals to residents of northeast Oklahoma. Today, The Salvation Army continues to feed a shelter that is supported by the American Red Cross in Kansas (OK). In addition, the communities of West Siloam Springs, Colcord and other nearby locations are receiving meals for their residents through this location via either pick-up by county officials or residents. The Wyandotte canteen continues to feed residents in the Wyandotte area. The McAlester Corps continues to serve meals to those coming in for assistance. Both McAlester and Muskogee Corps continue to provide comfort kits, food baskets, and blankets as needed and emergency prescription assistance.
Feed the Children delivered a tractor trailer load of canned food to Jay.
The United Methodists are assisting with health and welfare checks in many communities.
The Southern Baptist Men's Disaster Response continues to prepare meals for many of the shelters. Their large-capacity feeding unit, which feeds up to 15,000 meals, is in McAlester. A second feeding is staged in Muskogee to accommodate shelters in that area.
The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, located in Oklahoma City, and the Tulsa Food Bank continue to provide food for shelter preparation.
Statewide, ODOT crews have scaled back to regular operations. Roads remain wet in many areas across the state and in northwestern and western parts of the state some slush does remain on roadways and shoulders. Crews are out in harder hit areas clearing slush and some snow from roads to lessen the probability of refreezing this evening. For information regarding Oklahoma roads, call 888-425-2385. For road conditions in neighboring states call: Texas, 800-452-9292; Kansas, 886-511-5368; Arkansas, 800-245-1672; and Missouri, 800-222-6400.
Today temperatures ranged from the upper 20s in northwest Oklahoma to the mid 40s in southeast sections of the state. Tonight temperatures will fall below freezing. A warming trend is expected throughout the week with highs on Monday in the 30s and highs on Friday in the low 50s.
Power outages present problems with food safety as well as with heating. If people at home or those in food establishments have had a loss of power for more than four hours, OSDH recommends the following precautions be taken with refrigerated food products:
Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible.
Discard any potentially hazardous foods such as meats, eggs, dairy products and leftovers that may have exceeded 41 degrees. When in doubt, throw it out.
Frozen foods in a freezer can normally be kept up to 48 hours without power. Again, the 41 degree rule applies. A frozen product that has thawed should not be refrozen-it should be used immediately or disposed of. Thawed foods that have not reached 41 degrees can be cooked and consumed.
Carbon Monoxide Danger
OSDH continues to report more than 100 cases of possible carbon monoxide poisoning statewide. Health officials warn Oklahomans who may seek alternative power or fuel sources such as generators, grills, camp stoves or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices that these should never be used inside a home, garage,or camper -- or even outside near an open window. The use of these alternative fuel or electricity sources can cause carbon monoxide to build up and poison people and animals inside. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas found in combustion fumes and can cause sudden illness and death. The National Weather Service is broadcasting information regarding this carbon monoxide danger on NOAA weather radios.
Choose Contractors Carefully
As Oklahomans begin to recover from the ice storm, many will seek contractors to repair or rebuild their homes. Most contractors are reputable individuals. Some, however, may try to take advantage of home and business owners. Oklahomans are urged to follow these easy steps to help make sure they aren't victimized by unscrupulous contractors.
Look first to licensed local contractors who performed well in the past. If they cannot help you, ask them to recommend reputable contractors.
Some government building departments and trade associations keep lists of licensed contractors who work in the community. Also, the Better Business Bureau keeps records of complaints against contractors.
Be especially alert to door-to-door solicitors who hand out homemade flyers and ask for large cash deposits or advance payments in full.
Anyone who suspects price gouging is urged to contact the Oklahoma Attorney General's Consumer Protection Unit at 405-521-2029. The state's price gouging statute is in effect which prohibits an increase of more than 10 percent in the price of most goods and services when a state of emergency has been declared.
The State EOC continues to utilize the 2-1-1 system as a resource for non-emergency disaster information services. 2-1-1 is the number to call for access to non-emergency health, human service, and disaster related information. Just dial "2-1-1" from any phone in 36 Oklahoma Counties (see the lists below where 2-1-1 is available). Phones are answered 24/7/365. If you are calling from a rotary dial telephone or large phone system, such as PBX, please access 2-1-1 services through the 10-digit telephone numbers listed below. In counties where 2-1-1 is not available, residents should contact local emergency management officials or the American Red Cross for assistance.
Tulsa 2-1-1 Helpline (918-836-4357)
Creek, Okmulgee, Osage, Rogers, Tulsa, Wagoner
HeartLine 2-1-1, Central Oklahoma (405-286-4057)
Canadian, Cleveland, Grady, Kingfisher, Lincoln, Logan, McClain, Oklahoma, Pottawatomie
2-1-1 of Southeastern Oklahoma (580-332-0558)
Atoka, Bryan, Carter, Choctaw, Coal, Garvin, Haskell, Hughes, Jefferson, Johnston, Latimer, LeFlore, Love, Marshall, McCurtain, Murray, Pittsburg, Pontotoc, Pushmataha, Seminole, Stephens
For assistance in Comanche County, please call Helpline (580-355-7575) - note that 2-1-1 is not active in Comanche County at this time.