Friday, September 14, 2018
OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin and the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) today announced that Oklahoma is sending swift water rescue teams and an insurance anti-fraud unit to North Carolina to assist in the ongoing Hurricane Florence response efforts.
Two swift water rescue teams deployed to North Carolina today to support local rescue operations as Hurricane Florence continues to affect the area. The teams consist of boats and personnel from the following areas: Chickasha Fire Department; Coal County Emergency Management; Edmond Fire Department; Grand River Dam Authority; Locust Grove Fire Department; Mayes County Emergency Management; Mayes County Emergency Services Trust Authority; Moore Fire Department; Norman Fire Department; Oklahoma City Fire Department; Oklahoma City Information Technology; Oklahoma City Police Department; Pryor Fire Department; and Quapaw Nation Emergency Management and Fire Department.
In addition, the Oklahoma Insurance Department is sending a team to assist the North Carolina Insurance Department with anti-fraud enforcement.
On the other side of the globe, an OEM staff member is preparing to deploy to assist the Hawaii Department of Emergency Management with coordination of out-of-state resources. This is in response to the Kilauea East Rift Zone volcano and lava flow event.
The teams are deploying in response to Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) requests from North Carolina Emergency Management, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, and the Hawaii Department of Emergency Management.
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 Florida, Hawaii, New York, Texas, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
OEM Director Michelann Ooten said, “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 this storm, much like other states have come to help Oklahoma in past disasters.”
OEM continues to monitor additional requests from the affected areas. Further support may be deployed if needed.
Oklahoma officials also remind the public that the most effective way to support disaster survivors in their recovery is through cash donations to trusted, reputable voluntary agencies and faith-based organizations, which offer the most flexibility to address urgently developing needs. With cash in hand, these organizations can obtain needed resources nearer to the disaster location. This inflow of cash also pumps money back into the local economy and helps local businesses recover faster.