Tulsa's Emergency Operation Center Activated

Tulsa, OK – Emergency officials activated Tulsa's Emergency Operations Center, in advance of an expected wintry weather blast, at 2 p.m. Thursday.

Officials from the Tulsa Area Emergency Management Agency (TAEMA), City of Tulsa, Tulsa County, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, Tulsa Health Department, American Red Cross, Salvation Army, City of Broken Arrow, 211, EMSA, Tulsa Fire Department, Tulsa Police Department, Tulsa County Sheriff's Office and the Tulsa Metropolitan Medical Response System gathered to review the latest National Weather Service data and begin coordinating emergency response. This action comes just 13 months after city, county and other officials participated in an emergency preparedness workshop at FEMA's National Emergency Training Center in Emmitsburg, MD, and a little over two years after the devastating December 2007 ice storm.

Forecasts suggest that road conditions will deteriorate rapidly late Thursday afternoon or evening. A half-inch of freezing rain/ice is expected, followed by sleet and several inches of snow. Accumulation of ice on roads and other surfaces is likely, and widespread power outages are expected. Officials urge citizens to take the following actions:

If you need referrals or information, please call the 211 community helpline for information. Do NOT call 911 unless you have a life- or limb-threatening emergency.

If you lose electricity at home, report the outage by calling PSO at (888) 218-3919.
Check your home first-aid kit. Items that should be included are pain relievers (acetaminophen, ibuprofen and aspirin), antihistamines, bandages in assorted sizes, gauze and adhesive tape, an elastic bandage, antiseptic wipes, tweezers, scissors, antibiotic ointment and a first-aid manual. Individuals who require daily medications should make sure they have at least one week's worth of medicine on hand, too.

If you have a chronic health condition and require dialysis, an oxygen tank or other intensive treatment, make emergency healthcare plans now, as an ice storm could cause disruptions in electrical service. Contact your primary healthcare provider, your insurance company or your medical equipment supplier for help in planning. Also, coordinate with an emergency contact who can check in on you daily.

Check - and replace, if necessary - the batteries in all household smoke detectors. Every level of the home should have at least one working smoke detector. Smoke detectors that are wired into household electrical systems should have battery back-ups installed.

Practice and review your home escape plan. Ensure that all family members understand how to escape in case of a fire.

Be cautious when using candles. Keep the flame at least three feet away from cardboard, wood and other combustible objects. Also, keep candles out of the reach of children and pets, and extinguish before leaving a room or falling asleep.

Heat your home safely. Do not attempt to use your oven or a charcoal grill to heat your home. Generators and other fuel-powered devices should never be operated inside a home or an enclosed space (such as a garage). Unsafe practices could result in a build-up of deadly carbon monoxide fumes.

Know and watch for symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning: headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and confusion. If persons in your home experience these symptoms, step outdoors, ventilate the area and call 911. Anyone who even thinks they might have carbon monoxide poisoning is urged to call 911. During the December 2007 ice storm, over 100 individuals were sickened by carbon monoxide.

Do not touch any downed tree limbs, cables or power lines, as they may be electrically charged. Do not attempt to remove limbs yet; trees and power lines are unstable and may fall. Stay away from chain-link fences - energized power lines could activate a fence line throughout a neighborhood.

Refrain from driving on ice-slicked roads, unless absolutely necessary. Ice and downed trees and wires could make for treacherous travel. If you must travel in inclement conditions, drive slowly and increase your stopping distance. Watch for downed trees and power lines across roads. If power fails, treat all intersections as four-way stops. Pack blankets, water, food items and a phone to take with you.

To keep food safe during a power outage, keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. Discard any potentially hazardous food, including meats, eggs, dairy products and leftovers that may have exceeded 41 degrees Fahrenheit. Frozen foods in a freezer can normally be kept up to 48 hours without power.