Oklahoma swift water rescue teams helping in Texas


Oklahoma has a swift water rescue team helping in Texas following the state’s severe weather and ongoing flood response.

Gov. Kevin Stitt and the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management said a Type 1 swift water rescue team involves 16 members from Oklahoma City and Tulsa fire departments along with boats and equipment. They were deployed in response to an Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) request from the Texas Division of Emergency Management.

“We are committed to helping other states during their time of need with any resources we have available as they deal with the continued effects of active severe weather and flooding, much like other states have come to Oklahoma’s aid in recent weeks,” said Governor Stitt.

Personnel from Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, and New York have deployed through EMAC in the last month to assist Oklahoma with response and recovery efforts related to storms that occurred from April 25 through May 9.

We have been so appreciative of EMAC support from other states to help with the federal disaster in Oklahoma and now Oklahoma can return the favor,” said OEM Director Annie Mack Vest. “Thank you to Oklahoma City Fire Department and Tulsa Fire Department for being willing to step up and help our neighbors in need.”

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. In recent years, Oklahoma has sent state, local and tribal personnel to support EMAC requests in California, Florida, Louisiana, and New Mexico.

OEM continues to monitor additional requests from the affected areas. Further support may be deployed if needed.

A Pearland city worker attempts to repair a broken power line following a severe thunderstorm that passed through the area Tuesday afternoon May, 28, 2024, in Pearland, Texas. (Kirk Sides/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Crews in Texas have struggled not only with floodwaters but also downed trees and tangled limbs. Electricity had been restored to about 80% of more than 1 million homes and businesses that lost power following storms on Tuesday. Widespread damage was reported from Dallas to Houston.

Oncor Utility said it had repair crews from eight states who worked 16-hour shifts to restore power.