Tulsa leaders prepare for winter weather

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Reported by: Ian Silver
Updated: 12/02/2013 6:14 pm Published: 12/02/2013 4:23 pm

The Tulsa Area Emergency Management Agency is preparing for snow and ice.

City officials met Monday to get up to speed on plans for whatever response is necessary.

Two years ago TAEMA received a grant to upgrade the Emergency Operations Center. They're hoping those upgrades will improve communications and help keep everyone on the same page.

"We need to plan broadly. We'll know a lot more as we get closer into the event," said agency director Roger Jolliff.

Whether Tulsa gets snow or ice Jolliff said his team is as ready as they can be.

"We've been preparing for winter storms for some time now," he said.

It starts with making sure everybody knows their job in a weather emergency.

They've already checked all their systems, so it just becomes a waiting game for the first winter weather watch.

"When we get that watch we notify our response partners to be on standby. If we get the winter storm warning, we'll notify the on-duty commanders from police, fire, sheriff, EMSA. Get them in," he said.

The center now has more monitors, more phones and more computers.

"Communications office has more radar and communications ability. We've upgraded our radios so we can talk to more of our first responders more efficiently," he said.

Representatives from the city, county, law enforcement, fire, EMSA -- even area utilities -- will have better ways to stay on the same page.

"Be ready to address transportation needs, address sheltering needs and address power issues. PSO is a major player for us in this," he said.

If the predicted storm continues to develop, "you're going to see anywhere from a dozen to three dozen people in this room. Now it could go more than that if it's a major event," he said.

While they prepare for the worst and hope for the best, even if the storm fizzles Jolliff said it will be a good training exercise for the next big storm.

As a stipulation to the grant to upgrade the EOC, the center will have to serve as a staging area for state or federal officials if there's ever a need anywhere in the entire region.

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