This disaster mission will be categorized as a manageable disaster (according to the uncontrolled environmental conditions, which include but are not limited to: no running water, electricity). A massive tornado struck an area outside of Oklahoma City, Monday afternoon, May 20,causing numerous fatalities. The National Weather Service gave a preliminary rating of at least EF-4 for the tornado, meaning churning wind speeds of up to 200 mph. The storm knocked out power to the Oklahoma City area’s Draper Water Treatment Plant leaving the Oklahoma City metropolitan area without running water. The tornado was estimated to be at least 2 miles wide at one point as it moved through Moore, in the southern part of the Oklahoma City metropolitan area, as stated by local news reporters.
Region: Southern United States
- The area is mostly suburban with some rural living. Damage has been reported to 5 counties: Cleveland, Lincoln, McClain, Oklahoma, and Pottawatomie; with the worst damage appearing in the southern part of the Oklahoma City area in Moore.
- Varying weather conditions with temperatures ranging from highs in the low 80s and dropping in the evenings to the low 60s over the next seven days. Prepare for showers and thunderstorms over the next few days this week, and as the weekend approaches prepare for mostly sunny conditions.
Disaster Specific Information / News and Announcements:
- During tornado cleanup, the risk of wounds may be increased. For this reason, cleanup workers should be sure that they are up-to-date with tetanus vaccination, ideally before starting cleanup activities. Being up-to-date with the tetanus vaccine can greatly simplify the treatment for any wound that might occur. Adults need a tetanus booster shot every 10 years. Td or Tdap can be used; getting the Tdap instead of Td for one tetanus booster during adulthood is recommended to maintain protection against pertussis (whooping cough).
- Vaccinations are available to all FEMA employees through the Agency Infectious Disease Prevention Program (IDPP), at no cost to the employee. There are 5 vaccines available through an inter-agency agreement with Federal Occupational Health (FOH).
- Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Seasonal Influenza, Tetanus-diphtheria-adult pertussis (TdAP), and Pneumococcal (pneumonia).
Vaccinations should always be up-to-date. It is recommended that those needing vaccinations receive them as soon as possible; this will help increase your immunity to illness prior to exposure.
- If you have not been vaccinated vaccines may be available at or near your disaster site through FOH. Check with your safety officer to determine the closest clinic to you.
- When you go to get your vaccination at one of the FOH clinics, please take your FEMA badge for identification. It is also useful to take along your yellow International Certificate of Vaccination booklet, if you have one, to have the vaccine annotated in it.
- Remember to bring an adequate supply (approximately 2 months worth) of all medications necessary for any medical conditions that require medical treatment on a daily basis.
Disease Related to Travel Area
- Workers should be aware of the weather conditions while working in the disaster areas. Prepare with this in mind. Bring with you any clothing to protect yourself from the weather conditions while you are deployed (e.g., coats, long sleeve shirts, pants, and boots). Sun block and sunglasses may be appropriate for some work areas as well.
- Be aware of stray animals that are roaming the streets. PLEASE DO NOT PET THE ANIMALS. They may bite or scratch you because they are afraid. Thus, interaction with them may result in a defensive attack because of the recent activities. To prevent animal bites (possible rabies) stay away from the animals, make noise to scare them off, and do not pet them no matter how cute they look. If bitten or scratched, wash area with soap and water as soon as possible. If animal is venomous (snake, spider) or appears diseased, promptly seek medical assistance.
- Having a first aid kit with you can assist in patching small incidences acquired at work followed-up by a clinic visit if you haven’t had a tetanus shot.
- Down Power Lines. Those employees working in the field, there may be areas where you are working without power due to down power lines. Do not go near downed lines, even if they appear dead. They can become energized again without warning. Do not get out of your car if a downed wire is touching it. Your car will insolate you from harm. This caution includes entering water in which a downed power line is present.
- Cleanup Hazards. Storm cleanup activities can be hazardous. There will be miles of debris and devastation left behind in the storm. Workers and volunteers involved with storm cleanup should be aware of the potential dangers involved, and the proper safety precautions. Work-related hazards that could be encountered include: electrical hazards, Carbon Monoxide (using generators indoors), musculoskeletal hazards, hazardous materials, fire, confined spaces and falls.
- Debris. Power lines have a way of getting entangled in the branches and litter the storm wind left behind, and can become a serious hazard for the person trimming the branches with his chainsaw. Litter debris can also be a hidden danger. A lawn chain, piece of metal siding, or ladder could be leaning up against a fence or tree limb that is energized. Please, please, be careful and take a good look around your surroundings before attempting any cleanup.
- Standard operating conditions allow for normal living conditions for this deployment at this time. Better instructions will be given upon arrival to your specific deployment location.
- Moore, Oklahoma has been impacted the most by the tornado and is located mostly in suburban areas.
Safety & Security
- BE WISE!!!
- Wear your seatbelt!
- Be aware of the state laws for driving.
- Lock your car! (no matter where you are)
- Don’t carry large amounts of money around.
- Don’t wear flashy clothing, jewelry, etc.
- Walk in teams or use the buddy system at all times.
Health and Wellness
- There will be those coming from eastern regions whose sleeping patterns will be thrown off because of the change in time which is termed Jet Lag.
- Worker Fatigue. Worker fatigue management is an ideal tool to execute when working in an environment such as this, were stress and fatigue are natural reactions. You will be at risk of feeling uncomfortable levels of stress. This is due to the unexpected and sometimes troubling changes to the natural order of things and the interruption of your normal routines.
- Pace yourself
- Watch out for your co-worker
- Be aware; stay focused
- Take frequent rest breaks
- Eat and sleep as regular a schedule as possible
- First aid. Even for minor cuts and burns first aid is very important during storm cleanup. Immediately clean all wounds and cuts with soap and clean water. Talk to a doctor or nurse on the scene to find out if you need more treatment.
- Sanitation. In all instances, workers are advised to wash their hands with soap and clean water, and especially before eating or drinking.
- If you need a reasonable accommodation, you should notify your supervisor and/or cadre manager immediately.
- If you feel you need a break while working inform your supervisor, this will help to decrease worker fatigue, overexertion, and accidents.
- Keeping your body hydrated by drinking plenty of water while working, this keeps the risk for infection down because you are keeping your body temperature cool.
- Using sanitation precautions while working at a disaster site will prevent the spread of disease and sickness (e.g., hand washing).
Travel Updates and Alerts
Please check periodically for updates on current conditions of these counties in Oklahoma. This will keep you accurately informed. If you have any further questions upon arrival you can reference your Safety Officer on-site.