Governor Mary Fallin and the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) announced Monday that Oklahoma is sending swift water rescue teams to Texas to assist with storm response efforts, according to an official press release issued by the Governor’s office.
Fourteen swift water rescue and Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) teams and one management team from the Oklahoma Disaster Task Force deployed on Monday morning to southeast Texas. The teams consist of 30 boats and 83 personnel from as part of the following teams: Broken Arrow Emergency Management; Bryan County Swift Water Rescue Team; Coal County Swift Water Team; Mayes County Task Force 1; Oklahoma City USAR; Pittsburg County Water Rescue Team; Quapaw Tribe Fire; Muscogee (Creek) Nation Emergency Response Team; Tulsa Fire Department USAR; Tulsa Police Department Disaster Area Response Team; Washington County Emergency Management; Grand River Dam Authority; Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation; and Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
The Oklahoma teams will support the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) with water rescues as the state continues to respond to the catastrophic flooding that has besieged the Gulf coast.
The teams are deploying through the Interstate Emergency Response Support Plan, a regional mutual aid agreement for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region 6 states, and the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC). EMAC is a national mutual aid system that allows states to send personnel, equipment and commodities to help disaster relief efforts in other states. The state-to-state system was developed after Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and was established in 1996.
OEM will send the Incident Management Team later this week to assist with resource distribution. OK-IMT includes 12 personnel from Moore Emergency Management, Oklahoma County Emergency Management, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Oklahoma State Department of Health, Oklahoma State University Fire Service Training, Sapulpa Fire Department and Tulsa Fire Department. Further support may be deployed as needed.
“Oklahoma is a generous and giving state, and we are happy to provide whatever support and resources we can to assist our friends in Texas,” said Fallin. “Oklahoma and Texas have a friendly rivalry, but we are neighbors and when disaster strikes we focus on a spirit of cooperation by offering a helping hand. Oklahomans who want to help may consider donating to the American Red Cross or another disaster relief organization. Cash donations allow more flexibility to fill unique needs for various communities.”
Additional Oklahoma organizations responding to the impacted areas include volunteers from the American Red Cross, Children’s Disaster Services, Convoy of Hope, Mercy Chefs, Operation BBQ Relief, the Salvation Army and Southern Baptist Disaster Relief.