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Oklahoma Disaster Mitigation

This page contains mitigation information and resources for residents and communities in Oklahoma.

Prepare for Disasters Now

Financial Preparedness - Being ready for a disaster is more than storing water and supplies.  You also need to be financially ready.  Starting early and having adequate insurance, a plan to pay your bills and access to your important records and accounts will help you get back on your feet faster and avoid problems with your credit when you need it most.

Floods - Learn what actions to take when you receive a flood watch or warning alert from the National Weather Service for your local area and what to do before, during, and after a flood.

Earthquakes - Sudden rolling or shaking events caused by movement under the earth’s surface. Earthquakes happen along cracks in the earth's surface, called fault lines, and can be felt over large areas, although they usually last less than one minute. Earthquakes cannot be predicted — although scientists are working on it!

Severe Weather - Can happen anytime, in any part of the country. Severe weather can include hazardous conditions produced by thunderstorms, including damaging winds, tornadoes, large hail, flooding and flash flooding, and winter storms associated with freezing rain, sleet, snow and strong winds.

Tornadoes - Spawned from powerful thunderstorms, tornadoes can cause fatalities and devastate a neighborhood in seconds.

Wildfires - What actions do you need to take if you receive a fire weather watch alert from the National Weather Service for your local area and what to do before, during, and after a wildfire.

Contact Your Local Building Official And/Or Floodplain Manager BEFORE Starting Repairs After ANY Damage To Your Home or Business!

  • Learn about National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) regulations regarding substantial damage and improvement BEFORE starting to make repairs.
  • Ask for a Substantial Damage Determination from your local building official or floodplain manager.  They will provide specific details regarding local ordinance requirements which will help you decide the best options for rebuilding.   
  • Local Floodplain Management requirements for new construction will apply to substantial improvements.  The building must be brought into compliance with the NFIP.  This may include elevating the building, relocating the building to an area outside of the high-risk flood zone, or demolishing the building and rebuilding in compliance.
  • Learn whether or not there are specific re-building requirements for your community.

Building Permits - Necessary After ANY Disaster or Structural Damage!

  • Consult local building officials for information and permits when considering new construction or repairs on property affected by recent flooding, tornados/high winds, fire, winter storms, and/or earthquake.
  • Obtaining building permits for homes or businesses located within a high-risk flood area is especially important as additional permits may be required, such as a land use permit or zoning permit, depending on the property location. 
  • Local governments cannot reduce or ignore the floodplain requirements for building or repairs no matter what the cause of the damage.
  • Repair projects must meet community building codes and flood-damage prevention ordinances. 
  • Residents are required to start construction and repair only after they have received permits from their local building department.

Cleaning Up After an Earthquake

The Central United States Earthquake Consortium or CUSEC, provides the following general guidelines on what to do after an earthquake:

  1. Check for injuries to your family and your surrounding neighbors. Do not attempt to move seriously injured persons unless they are in danger of further injury.
  2. Check for fires or fire hazards.
  3. If indoors, check the structural aspects of the building, if any part of the structure appears to be unsafe, evacuate the building until a more detailed inspection can be made. Buildings that are damaged by the main shock could receive additional damage from aftershocks.
  4. Wear shoes in all areas near debris or broken glass.
  5. Do not touch downed power lines or objects touched by the downed wires.
  6. Immediately clean up spilled medicines, drugs, and other potentially harmful materials. Use extreme caution when cleaning up spilt chemicals, they may have mixed with other chemicals during shaking and could cause harmful effects. Open windows to provide ventilation. If you begin to feel any effects from the material that you are handling, stop what your doing and seek medical help.
  7. Check for damaged utilities. Inspect for leaking gas lines by smell only; do not use candles, matches, or other open flames. If you smell gas, open all windows and doors so gas can escape. Shut off the main valve at your gas meter, leave the house immediately, and notify authorities of the leak. Do not re-enter the house until repairs have been made and the dwelling has been declared safe. If water pipes are broken, shut off the main valve which brings water into the house. If the house is properly wired, internal trouble with the electricity is very unlikely. If there is a short circuit, turn off the electricity at the meter box.
  8. If water is off, emergency water may be obtained from melted ice cubes, from canned vegetables, from toilet tanks (if no blueing or sanitizing chemicals have been added), from swimming pools and spas, and from water heaters (strain this water through a clean handkerchief first).
  9. Check to see that sewage lines are intact before permitting continued flushing of toilets.
  10. Do not eat or drink anything from open containers near shattered glass. Liquids can be strained through a clean handkerchief or cloth if the danger of glass contamination exists.
  11. If power is off, check your freezer and plan meals to use up foods which will spoil quickly.
  12. Use outdoor charcoal or propane broilers for emergency cooking. Do not bring these items indoors. The accumulation of fumes from their use can be deadly.
  13. Do not use your telephone except for genuine emergency calls.
  14. If you have a chimney check its entire length for cracks and damage, particularly in the attic and at the roof line. Unnoticed damage could lead to a fire or collapse in aftershocks. The initial check should be made from a distance. Approach chimneys with caution.
  15. Check closets and storage shelf areas. Open closet and cupboard doors carefully and watch for objects falling from shelves.
  16. Do not spread rumors. They often do great harm following disasters.
  17. Tune-in to local radio stations for information and danger reports.
  18. Do not go sightseeing. Do not use your vehicle unless there is a genuine emergency. Keep the streets clear for emergency vehicles.
  19. Be prepared for additional aftershocks. Although most of these are smaller than the main shock, some may be strong enough to cause additional damage.
  20. Respond to requests for help from police, fire fighting, civil defense, and relief organizations, but do not go into damaged areas unless your help has been requested. Cooperate fully with public-safety officials. In some areas, you may be arrested for getting in the way of disaster operations.
  21. Information concerning the welfare of separated family members will be handled by the American Red Cross. Do not call or go to the police or fire department for this information.  If you have an emergency communications plan in place, use it instead.

Cleaning Up After a Tornado

BEFORE ENTERING A BUILDING

  • Check the outside of the building: Call your utility company immediately if you see downed power lines, detect gas leaks (Natural gas leaks smell like rotten eggs.) or see water gurgling up from underground.
  • Look for external damage: Examine the foundation for cracks or other damage. Inspect porch roofs, overhangs and the foundation. If you find obvious damage, ask a building inspector to check the building before you go inside.
  • Enter the building carefully: If the door sticks at the top as it opens, it could mean the ceiling is ready to cave in. Don't walk under a sagging ceiling until it has been checked.

AFTER ENTERING A BUILDING

  • Turn off the main electricity breakers and valves for water and gas. Even if the power company has turned off electricity to the area, be sure to disconnect your home's main power supply. Have all utility connections inspected before resuming their use. Do not use appliances or motors that were exposed to water until they have been cleaned and dried.
  • Dress for safety. A disposable dust mask will keep out nuisance dust, but consider a specialized mask with changeable filters to filter mold spores (organic vapor), asbestos, lead or other contaminants. Wear safety glasses, leather or rubber gloves and protective shoes (Avoid rubber-soled athletic shoes when walking in or around debris). This will minimize harm to you if you encounter a hazard. Hard hats, long sleeves and pants are encouraged to guard against bumps and scrapes.
  • Look before you step: Floors and stairs may be covered with debris and may be very slippery. Watch out for window glass, broken bottles, nails and other hazards.
  • Watch for critters: Snakes, skunks, raccoons and other wildlife seeking safety may choose your home for safety. Proceed with caution to avoid being startled.
  • Be alert for gas leaks: Do not strike a match or use an open flame when entering a building unless you know the gas has been turned off and the area has been ventilated. Use a flashlight to inspect for damage, not an open flame.

Additional Resources:

Centers for Disease Control - tornadoes

Ready.gov: //www.ready.gov/tornadoes

Cleaning Up After a Flood

If you had water in your home, mold can become a health issue you will need to address.  The following precautions are suggestions you may want to use:

  • Confirm the water supply is safe to drink. Listen for news reports to learn whether the community’s water supply has been contaminated by the floodwaters. Remember to carry bottled drinking water and discard any food products that may have come in contact with floodwater.
  • Wear protective clothing. Protect yourself during cleanup by wearing boots, gloves and masks. Clean and disinfect everything floodwater contacted.
  • Ventilate your home. Open all doors and windows to allow air to circulate and dry out your home. Dehumidify as soon as possible after a flood.
  • Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pit and leaching systems as soon as possible. Damaged sewage systems are serious health hazards.
  • Make a list of lost or damaged items. Be sure to include their age and value, and if possible, have receipts for those items available.
  • Isolate any moldy objects.  Seal moldy trash in plastic bags and remove them immediately.  Objects you can save should be dried or frozen as soon as possible.  Freezing deactivates mold.
  • Prevent mold growth. Wash all surface areas in the house that came in contact with floodwater. Disinfect and wipe surfaces dry with paper towels to minimize bacterial contamination.

Visit the Centers for Disease Control to learn more about cleaning up after a flood.

More Information on Flood Recovery

Know Your Flood Risk:  Has it changed?

The flood may have changed your known risks to new risks you face today or tomorrow.  Stay informed through your local Floodplain Manager and maintain flood insurance.

Important Message for Flood Survivors With Flood Insurance

Contact your Insurance Agent immediately.

  • If your home or business was damaged or destroyed by flood, you face major decisions about your property.
  • If you have questions or need help with your flood insurance contact the National Flood Insurance Program Help Center:

1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or visit: www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program-technical-support-hotline

Below are links to general flood insurance information:

Filing a Flood Insurance Claim

  • Contact your agent or insurance company.  An insurance adjuster should contact you within a few days to inspect the property.  Have this information ready:

    • Name of the Insurance Company, Policy Number, Contact Information

  • Obtain a Proof of Loss form from the insurance adjuster.  The insurance adjuster will collect evidence, take photographs of damaged property, capture high water marks inside and outside the structure, place damaged items outside the home for the adjusters inspection.

  • File claim with your Insurance Company within 240 days of the May 2015 floods. This is required to pay your claim.   

  • Agree to Damage Amount with Insurer.  Sign the Proof of Loss.  File the claim.  If major flooding has occurred, it may take longer to process claims due to the number of claims.

Increased Cost of Compliance

  • ICC is also “Coverage D” in the NFIP Standard Flood Insurance Policy.  It pays the insured up to $30,000 to comply with a state or local floodplain management law or ordinance affecting repair or reconstruction of a flood-damaged building.  Qualifying structures must be declared a “substantially damaged” or “repetitive loss” property by a community official. 
  • Eligible mitigation activities are floodproofing (with few exceptions, floodproofing is only approved for commercial buildings), elevation, relocation, and demolition (or any combination thereof). 
  • Construction funded by ICC payments must be completed within 4 years of the substantial damage determination.  ICC funds are available in addition to some federal assistance allocated for use to protect the building from future loss. 

ICC claims are filed through your insurance agent.  The NFIP Flood Insurance Claims Handbook provides good information about filing your ICC claim. 

Lower Your Flood Insurance Premium

Talk to community officials, builders, and other experts about how you can reduce future flood losses.  Then talk with your flood insurance agent about how building smarter can save you serious premium dollars.

Options May be Available to Offset Cost Cost of Repairing, Rebuilding, or Re-Locating

Choosing the right option requires research, planning, contacting local officials, and benefit-cost assessments (e.g. relocating or elevating the building will impact flood insurance premiums, while other options will not). Talk to your local community officials about available grants to help fund mitigation activities.  Also ask about relocation, buyout or acquisition programs.

If You DON'T Have Flood Insurance

Contact your local Insurance Agent to learn about purchasing flood insurance for structures and contents.

Helpful Resources

  • For more information about flood insurance, visit FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program webpage call:

The National Flood Insurance Program Help Center at: 1-800-427-4661

General Flood Publications

Rebuilding Safer and Stronger - After A Flood, Tornado, or Other Natural Hazard - FEMA Building Sciences Can Help

FEMA has multiple publications with information to help you and communities rebuild to be more resilient and disaster resistant.

Learn how to protect your home or business from floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes and high winds, and manmade disasters (terrorism/bombs):

www.fema.gov/protect-your-property

www.fema.gov/small-business-toolkit/protect-your-property-or-business-disaster

Below are examples of Safe Room Resources

  • Taking Shelter From the Storm: Building a Safe Room Inside Your Home or Small Business (FEMA P-320) - Having a safe room in your home or small business can help provide "near-absolute protection" for you and your family or your employees from injury or death caused by the dangerous forces of extreme winds. 
  • Design and Construction Guidance for Community Safe Rooms (FEMA P-361) - This publication presents design, construction, and operation criteria for both residential and community safe rooms that will provide near-absolute life safety protection during tornado and hurricane events.
  • Tornado Protection: Selecting Refuge Areas in Buildings (FEMA P-431) - This booklet presents information that will aid qualified architects and engineers in the identification of the best available refuge areas in existing buildings.
  • Design Guidance for Shelters and Safe Rooms (FEMA 453) - The objective of this manual is to provide guidance for engineers, architects, building officials, and property owners to design shelters and safe rooms in buildings.
  • Safe Room and Community Shelter Resources CD (FEMA 388 CD) - On this CD, you will find displays, posters, handouts, multimedia, and other resources that provide information about mitigating for tornadoes or other high-wind events and about the importance of safe rooms and community shelter construction in saving lives during such events.
  • Community Safe Room Fact Sheet - This fact sheet provides information about safe rooms and explains that a safe room is a room or structure specifically designed and constructed to resist wind pressures and wind-borne debris impacts during an extreme-wind event, like tornadoes and hurricanes, for the purpose of providing life-safety protection.
  • Residential Safe Room Fact Sheet - This fact sheet provide information about residential safe rooms and explains that a safe room is a room or structure specifically de-signed and constructed to resist wind pressures and wind-borne debris impacts during an extreme-wind event, like tornadoes and hurricanes, for the purpose of providing life-safety protection.

Publicaciones en Español

Videos - Information on Safe Rooms, "Hardening" of a Home, and Flood Mitigation

  • What Makes a Safe Room Safe? - An animated illustration of the key Safe Room design elements that give a Safe Room "near absolute protection" from a severe storm, tornado or hurricane.

  • Building Stronger After a Tornado - Following tornadoes where homes are destroyed, some homeowners are strengthing their new homes by building safer structures.

  • Safe Room Technical Guidance Video - Interview with Bob Franke (FEMA Region VII) regarding FEMA P-320 (Taking Shelter From the Storm: Building a Safe Room For Your Home or Small Business) and other guidance/research on regarding building a safe room.

  • Safe Room Construction Videos - These four videos depict how to construct a residential or business safe room. These videos do NOT have an audio component.

  • Anchoring Home Fuel Tanks - This video explain the reason why and how external fuel tanks should be anchored.

  • Family Elevates Home to Protect It - explains how and why a home in Georgia is being elevated after flooding.

  • Public Service Announcement - elevation after previous storms and the benefit of elevation.

Mitigation Planning

State, Indian Tribal, and local officials develop and adopt mitigation plans to meet the requirements of the Stafford Act. The Multi-Hazard Mitigation Planning Guidance provides the official guidance on these requirements and procedures for approval of hazard mitigation plans. The core steps in the graphic below show the process to complete a mitigation plan.

Hazard Mitigation Grant Program

The Hazard Mitgation Grant Program (HMGP) can be used to fund projects to protect either public or private property, as long as the project fits within State and local government mitigation strategies to address areas of risk and complies with HMGP guidelines.  Through your State Hazard Mitigation Officer, communities and Federally Recognized Tribes can learn how to develop an application for a Hazard Mitigation Grant.
 
FEMA provides a variety of hazard mitigation grants to states and communities.  To learn more, see the Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) Grant Programs Fact Sheet.

Environmental Planning and Historic Preservation

It is FEMA's policy to act with care to ensure that its disaster response and recovery, mitigation and preparedness responsibilities are carried out in a manner that is consistent with all Federal environmental and historic preservation policies and laws. To learn more how you can help with this process visit the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, Preserve America, and the Heritage Emergency National Task Force. Also, read “Advice for Saving Damaged Family Treasures” for the care, protection, and restoration of family heirlooms, photos, and other keepsakes, or visit the National Archives for additional information.

Best Practices

FEMA collects Mitigation success stories, encourages the public to share their stories, and to review stories from other residents, it is known as the Best Practices Portfolio

Oklahoma Disasters

For news, geographic information, and possible financial assistance:

DR# 4222 please visit https://www.fema.gov/disaster/4222

DR# 4247 please visit https://www.fema.gov/disaster/4247

Find Help in Oklahoma

Your State Hazard Mitigation Officer, NFIP Coordinator, Earthquake Program Manager, Dam Safety Manager, and Floodplain Management Association contact information may be accessed by clicking on https://www.fema.gov/region-vi-mitigation-partners

Region 6 Mitigation Contacts

To Register with FEMA

Hazard Mitigation - The Basics

Hazard Mitigation is the effort to reduce loss of life and property by lessening the impact of future disasters by taking action now—before the next disaster—to reduce human and financial consequences later (analyzing risk, reducing risk, insuring against risk).  Effective mitigation requires that we all understand local risks, address the hard choices, and invest in long-term community well-being. Without mitigation actions, we jeopardize our safety, financial security, and self-reliance.

Last Updated: 
11/17/2017 - 17:18