Emergency Operation Center Activated Despite Lack of Disaster

Sunday, April 10th 2011, 11:44 pm
By: News 9

Jon Jordan, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Officials predicted a high fire danger Sunday and the Department of Emergency Management said it wasn't willing to take any chances, so it activated the emergency operations center.

It was a decision Albert Ashwood, the director for the Department of Emergency Management, said he is standing behind

"It was very obvious this was an extreme weather day," Ashwood said.

Because of the high fire conditions, Ashwood along with several other state agencies agreed to activate the emergency operations center (EOC), which located in the basement of the DHS building.

The center is designed to bring liaisons from different agencies together under one roof to better coordinate resources.

"[The] military, Department of Public Safety is here. [The] Corporation Commission is here," Ashwood said.

Even though the winds that were expected for much of the state didn't develop, Ashwood said activating the EOC was the right decision.

"We don't worry about costs when it comes to public safety. We want to make sure we provide all state resources necessary when the time occurs," Ashwood said.

Ashwood said if and when the same conditions develop, he won't hesitate to activate the EOC again.

"We're not going to think twice about coming down here," Ashwood said.

In light of the high risk for wildfires, the Emergency Management Center went to a Level 2 activation, meaning liaisons from the involved agencies were ready to work extended hours.