New Phone Number Could Help Save Lives When Disasters Strike

Saturday, February 12th 2011, 11:15 pm
By: News 9

Jon Jordan, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- State emergency officials have stepped up their efforts to keep Oklahomans safe during emergencies through a single phone number.

For firefighters on the front lines of a grassfire, containing the fire can be tiring enough. Making it even harder having to fight grass fires, firefighters must also work to coordinate additional resources, which can be a difficult and time consuming process. But with the help of a new "one-call system" just implemented by state emergency officials, it's a problem local level officials no longer have to worry about.

"They can do it as easily as making one phone call," said Michaelann Ooten, Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management spokesperson.

With just one number first responders will make a phone call that will go directly to the state's emergency operations center located in Oklahoma City, which will handle the necessary resources for them, allowing first responders and local emergency officials focus on what's important-- saving lives.

"We would actually make those phone calls for them to secure mutual aid from their neighboring communities as well as if resources are needed even further away," Ooten said.

The system has yet to be used but officials recognize it's only a matter of time.

"Oklahoma has a lot of disasters. We certainly will have more disasters to come," Ooten said.

Over 200 emergency officials from around the state were given the final details on how the "one-call system" would work.

Ooten said the number is expected to be up and running as soon as possible.