OKLAHOMA CITY (Aug. 26, 2020) – Governor Kevin Stitt and the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) announced today that Oklahoma is sending a Type III Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) Team with water rescue capabilities to the state of Louisiana in preparation for Hurricane Laura response efforts.
"In times of need, the State of Louisiana has faithfully stepped up to help our state and people, and we in turn do the same," said Gov. Stitt. "I am proud of the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management for quickly sending a support team to our neighboring state as they prepare for the impact of Hurricane Laura."
"We are committed to supporting our neighbor states and providing any resources we have available as Louisiana deals with the effects of Hurricane Laura," said OEM Director Mark Gower.
The 35-person Oklahoma Task Force 1 US&R team is comprised of personnel from Tulsa Fire, Tulsa Police, Broken Arrow Fire, Owasso Fire, Sand Springs Fire, Verdigris Fire and the Grand River Dam Authority, as well as vehicles, boats and equipment.
The US&R team will help support the Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) and local emergency management jurisdictions with search and rescue operations that may be needed as a result of Hurricane Laura, which is expected to make landfall late Wednesday night.
Earlier this week, a five-person Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Support Team deployed to Louisiana to help with forward operations, including response coordination, evacuation and shelter planning, search and rescue coordination, GIS mapping of hazards and resources and other operations support. The EOC team includes personnel from OEM, Tulsa Police Department and Tulsa Fire Department.
Both teams are deploying through the Interstate Emergency Response Support Plan, a regional mutual aid agreement for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region 6 states, and the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC). EMAC is a national mutual aid system that allows states to send personnel, equipment and commodities to help disaster relief efforts in other states.
OEM is coordinating with GOHSEP and monitoring additional requests from the affected areas. Further support may be deployed if needed.