SWOK emergency managers hold annual workshop

ALTUS, OK (KSWO) - Every emergency management Agency in southwest Oklahoma traveled to Altus this week for their annual workshop.

The three-day meeting brings together emergency management directors from different cities, counties and even tribes. They get the chance to brush up on some training, network with each other and hear about the experiences others have gone through since they last met.

This week's event allows emergency managers to learn what kind of expertise and equipment other emergency managers in the area have. They can use that information if they ever need help in future disasters or other emergencies.

"It's a good working relationship because if we need to lean on one, then they can lean on us. We'll send our Jackson County Task Force three, four, even five counties over if we need to. Our task force is every fire department in the county. If we need help, they come and help us," said Jackson County Emergency Manager Erik Mowbray.

"If you have a working knowledge of them or a friendship with them and everything like that, if you need their assistance or vice versa, then it's just a lot smoother," said Anadarko Emergency Management Director Skip Wilkerson.

"If you don't come here and make friendships or connections, you don't know who to call," said Caddo Nation Emergency Manager Polly Edwards.

Those connections emergency managers make and share at their annual workshop go a long way.

"It helps the public tremendously. Like if Chickasha has a generator that we need to help run a warming station for the town of Warren, then those people in Warren can get a warming station and don't have to freeze to death," said Mowbray.

Those connections don't just help when it comes to equipment.

"When a tornado hits your community and you only have a handful of officials, you're a small town or something. Then all the sudden you walk out and there are all these people there. That's what's important. You don't have the workforce to actually do the job. So, these are the workforce that comes to you," said Edwards

Each year, the emergency managers pick a few topics they'd like to receive a little bit more training in. Wednesday, staging relief efforts after a disaster and handling severe weather were just a couple of those topics.

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