The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) reported its first update on assistance to Texas following the catastrophic flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey. OEM officials continue working with FEMA as well as representatives in Texas and Louisiana and other state, local, tribal and voluntary agencies. The State Emergency Operations Center is activated, according to a press release issued on Wednesday.
Governor Mary Fallin declared a State of Emergency for Oklahoma so that state, county and local governments can respond to the mutual aid requests of the Gulf Coast states. State agencies can make emergency purchases and acquisitions to expedite resources under the Executive Order.
Following record rainfall throughout Harris County, Hurricane Harvey was gradually downgraded to tropical storm status. Harvey made landfall again – this time as a tropical storm — in southern Louisiana near Cameron with 45mph sustained winds moving north at 9mph. The primary threat continues to be excessive rainfall across parts of western Louisiana where total amounts greater than 15 inches is possible. Since Harvey is expected to increase speed and move northeast, it should move out of Louisiana by midday Thursday. Current impacts are widespread rainfall of 2-5 inches with a few areas near 8 inches.
On Wednesday morning, eight additional swift water teams were deployed to Texas from Chickasha Fire, Guthrie Fire, McCurtain County, McIntosh County Fire, Seminole Fire, Shawnee Fire, Tecumseh Fire and Yukon Fire.
The full list of all teams deployed to Texas since Monday is included below:
- Bartlesville Fire Department Swift Water Team
- Broken Arrow Emergency Management
- Bryan County Swift Water Rescue Team
- Cherokee County Swift Water Team
- Cherokee Nation Swift Water Team
- Chickasha Fire Swift Water Team
- Coal County Swift Water Team
- Craig County Swift Water Team
- Grand River Dam Authority
- Guthrie Fire Swift Water Team
- Guymon Fire Swift Water Team
- Mayes County Task Force 1
- McCurtain Swift Water Team
- McIntosh Fire Swift Water Team
- Muscogee (Creek) Nation Emergency Response Team
- Oklahoma City USAR
- Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation
- Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation
- Oklahoma Highway Patrol
- Pittsburg County Water Rescue Team
- Quapaw Tribe Fire
- Seminole Fire Swift Water Team
- Shawnee Fire Swift Water Team
- Tecumseh Fire Swift Water Team
- Tulsa Fire Department USAR
- Tulsa Police Department Disaster Area Response Team
- Wagoner County Swift Water Team
- Washington County Emergency Management
- Yukon Fire Swift Water Team
OK-IMT, the state Incident Management Team, deployed to Texas earlier this week to provide assistance with resource distribution and other assignments. 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.
Three OEM staff members are assigned to the TDEM Operations Center and the FEMA Region 6 office in Denton to help coordinate EMAC request and other out of state resources.
The Oklahoma National Guard is responding to another request from the Texas Military Department to send personnel and equipment to support medical evacuations from southeast Texas.
An Oklahoma shelter operations team is preparing to deploy to Shreveport, Louisiana, to manage two shelters for evacuees who have been displaced by Tropical Storm Harvey. The shelters are planned to open later this week to accommodate at least 3,500 people.
Several Oklahoma EMS agencies have provided units per the Federal request for EMS support. This is an operation through FEMA with contracted EMS agencies.
Numerous Oklahoma voluntary agencies are also sending staff and volunteers to support relief efforts in Texas including the American Red Cross, Children’s Disaster Services, Convoy of Hope, Mercy Chefs, Operation BBQ Relief, the Salvation Army and Southern Baptist Disaster Relief.
Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief has sent two shower trailers to Houston and a large feeding unit (45-person, producing 25,000 meals/day) to serve meals at the Houston convention center.
The American Red Cross is supporting responders and family members of VA patients being transported to Oklahoma through the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS). A medical evacuation center opened Wednesday at Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City.
Oklahomans are discouraged from self-deploying to Texas or Louisiana. In most cases, access to the affected areas is extremely limited due to high water. As Oklahoma continues to receive requests for personnel, equipment and supplies, OEM will seek input from local county and municipal emergency managers to identify the needed resources. OEM is working through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), an interstate mutual aid agreement, to deploy resources to the affected areas.
To find friends or family in the affected area, visit www.safeandwell.org.
Oklahoma Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) offers the following tips:
When disaster strikes, the best way to support survivors of emergencies or disasters in Oklahoma is with cash donations to reputable voluntary organizations. Cash donations allow relief organizations or survivors to purchase what they need, when and where they need it. Buying supplies locally helps the local community recover by helping local businesses pay salaries and by keeping tax revenues in the community.
Do not send unsolicited donations of used clothing, miscellaneous items or perishable foods, which must be sorted, warehoused, transported and distributed. This requires more efforts and staffing to manage those resources and takes away from recovery efforts. If you must donate in-kind goods, make certain that they are specifically requested and needed by recognized organizations.
For Oklahomans who wish to volunteer for Harvey relief efforts, please visit the websites for the Texas and National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) for a list of dozens of faith-based, community, nonprofit and non-governmental organizations that include volunteer engagement as a key component of their operations.