State emergency management workers are prepared to spend the next couple of days working around the clock responding to local governments and agencies needing assistance from Thursday’s winter storm.
"Our personnel were told to come prepared to be here for a number of days,” said Michelann Ooten, state Emergency Management Department spokeswoman. "We have cots and blankets and pillows and MREs (meals ready to eat).” The state’s emergency operations center, in an underground bunker in the state Capitol complex, was activated Thursday as a widespread ice storm advanced into the state. Representatives of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, the Oklahoma National Guard, the state Health Department, American Red Cross and Salvation Army were among those stationed Thursday at the state’s emergency nerve center. "This is a one-stop shop for resource requests, whether it be one of our industrial-size generators or the bottled water,” Ooten said. Local emergency management directors call into the operations center to make assistance requests, she said. "By having all the different liaison representatives here in one room, that stops that local official from having to make multiple phone calls for the different resource requests,” Ooten said. "They can make one call and get all those things deployed.” The emergency operations center is in a bunker, 20 feet below the ground. Severe weather coverage Know it: Winter Survival