Gov. Henry honors emergency management teams

Lawton_Communities across Oklahoma are recognizing city, county, and state emergency managers this week.  Governor Brad Henry has proclaimed this week "Emergency Management Week" to honor men and women who devote their time in preparation for, and action in, the aftermath of catastrophes.

Whether it's flood or fire, the teams try to take care of everyone.  Oklahoma has received more than $7 Million in federal disaster aid in the past few years, mostly through the efforts of emergency teams throughout the state.

Comanche County Emergency Management Deputy Director Chloe Lewis is one the honorees.  When disaster strikes, her team coordinates with other response services to ensure victims get the assistance they need.  "That's what really means a lot to them, when that they can see that people will actually come in there and care about them as human beings," she says.

Captain John Murphy of the Salvation Army in Lawton says emergency management calls him when they need help.  "We receive our calls, our orders, to go out from emergency management themselves, because they know how big the fires are, or where the damage is for the flood, and they're better able to put us in place so we don't waste a lot of time trying to find what's going on," he says.

Murphy says the call from emergency management saves a lot of money and resources.  He says responses have been so well organized during the recent grass fires that no homes have been destroyed.  "All the teams worked great together and saved lives."

Emergency Management Director Clint Wagstaff says a lot of emergency management teams are volunteers, and they really appreciate the Governor's proclamation.  "It makes the volunteers and the part time staff feel like they're appreciated by the state for the job that they do," he says.

Thanks to the efforts of our emergency management teams and other response units, no lives have been lost in the recent disasters.  "Most of the citizens understand, in this county, that we will take care of them," says Wagstaff.