REPAIR WORK: PSO crews work to restore power near Logan’s Roadhouse across 71st Street from Woodland Hills Mall. At the worst point, nearly half a million Oklahomans lost power in the ice storm that hit the state Dec. 8.
GTR Newspapers photo
At the worst point of the early December ice storm, nearly half a million people in Oklahoma lost electricity services – over half of which was in northeastern Oklahoma. PSO customers still without power can visit www.psoklahoma.com/news/outages and click on “December 9 Ice Storm” for outage and repair maps.
In the days following the storm, crews from across the country worked around the clock to repair downed power lines and restore power. President Bush signed a federal emergency disaster declaration mere hours after Oklahoma submitted the request. The emergency declaration opened the way for more federal aid to assist in the efforts to save lives, protect property and public health and safety, and lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in all 77 counties in Oklahoma.
The following outlines the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency’s initial aid.
Even before Oklahoma officials asked for the declaration, FEMA had been working with them to offer assistance and move resources into the area. Disaster response specialists from FEMA Region V (Chicago, Ill.), Region VI (Denton, Texas) and Region VII (Kansas City, Mo.) have also engaged state officials in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas and Wisconsin to identify needs and coordinate federal relief efforts to the communities affected there. As these needs were identified, federal assets were speeding to the affected states to assist with anticipated federal aid requests for emergency power restoration, essential commodities and life-sustaining missions.
“We’re looking ahead to anticipate the needs of the states,” says FEMA Administrator David Paulison. “I’m extremely pleased with the coordination at the federal, tribal, state and local levels.”
Some of the actions undertaken in the hardest hit states include assisting emergency officials monitor effects and assess needs for federal aid. Specifically, the regions and other federal agencies continue to do the following:
Region V Federal Response
The FEMA Region V Regional Response Coordination Center was activated and supported by regional Emergency Support Functions who monitored the effects of the storm and coordinated with other federal agencies such as the Army Corps of Engineers and nongovernmental organizations such as the American Red Cross. Regional staff also supported Region V states by maintaining close contact with all of the Region V state Emergency Operations Centers.
Regional disaster specialists were deployed to Illinois and Wisconsin to assist with identifying needs and provide technical support to the state emergency managers in the affected states. Additionally, Preliminary Damage Assessment teams have been identified and are prepared to begin assisting state and local emergency managers assess damage and need for more federal aid.
Region V was poised to provide generators, water and Meals Ready to Eat immediately, if needed.
Region VI Federal Response
In the FEMA Region V, current and ongoing support missions focused on delivering a 50-pk generator kit to Oklahoma City to assist with state infrastructure. Another 50-pk generator kit was delivered to Tulsa.
PDA teams were identified and prepared to begin assisting state and local emergency managers assess damage and need for more federal aid.
Trucks carrying drinking water have been deployed to Tulsa to support state efforts and those of private nonprofit organizations to shelter and feed residents.
For the most up-to-date FEMA relief efforts, visit www.fema.gov and click on ‘Disaster Declarations.’