EDITOR’S NOTE: MANY OF THE PREPARATION STEPS ERIK MENTIONS ARE JUST AS GOOD FOR OUR UPCOMING HURRICANE SEASON.
Erik Scott, Spokesperson Los Angeles Fire Department
OKLAHOMA CITY – Members of the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) Command Staff are sent to assist those affected by the devastating tornado in Oklahoma City.
On May 20, at 3:56 pm EDT, a tornado developed near Newcastle, OK (pop. 7,847) and swiftly moved ENE across Moore (pop. 56,315) before dissipating at 4:36 pm EDT. The tornado was reported to be a mile wide with winds of at least 166 mph creating widespread damage and casualties.
In support of the national response to the events that occurred in the Oklahoma City Metropolitan areas of Moore and Newcastle, two members of the Los Angeles Fire Department’s Command Staff have been activated and are being sent to Oklahoma as members of FEMA’s overhead command team. California Task Force One (CA-TF1) has not been activated. However, LAFD Urban Search and Rescue Teams are standing by.
For more than two decades, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has helped organize and support a system of regional Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Task Forces available for mobilization by State and Federal government on an as-needed basis.
Comprised of specially trained and equipped local firefighters and other certified responders, this nationwide network of 28 FEMA USAR Task Forces includes eight in the Golden State, two of which are maintained here in Los Angeles County (CA-TF1: Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) & CA-TF2: Los Angeles County Fire Department (LACoFD), similar sounding but separate organizations).
The LAFD along with FEMA urge residents in impacted areas to listen carefully to instructions from their local officials and take the recommended protective measures to safeguard life and property while response efforts continue. Listen to state, local and tribal officials who ask you to remain in shelters, homes or safe places until they give the “all clear” to travel. Roads are very likely to be damaged or blocked by debris, and traffic jams slow emergency managers and first responders as they attempt to reach hard-hit areas.
We encourage individuals in the affected areas following a disaster to monitor local radio, TV stations, the National Weather Service at www.weather.gov or a NOAA weather radio for the latest weather and emergency information.
We strongly remind all that NOW is the time to get prepared for tornadoes and other disasters such as earthquakes that threaten the Los Angeles area.
There are tools and resources available online to help you prepare for, respond to and recover from any type of disaster. Visit www.ready.gov to learn more. The Spanish language site – listo.gov. Those with a Blackberry, Android or Apple device can download the FEMA app to access safety tips, shelter locations, and more.
Member’s of the Los Angeles Fire Department hearts go out to those affected by the devastating tornado and we tip our helmets to all First Responders, particularly those bravely assisting in Oklahoma this week, which is National Emergency Medical Services Week (May 19-25, 2013).
- LAFD Supports “National EMS Week” May 19-25 (onguard4america.wordpress.com)
- The LAFD talks about ICE (onguard4america.wordpress.com)
- Oklahoma City Tornado Video: Aftermath Leaves Dozens Dead, President Obama Declares a State of Emergency (hngn.com)
- Southern Californians React To Deadly Oklahoma Tornadoes (losangeles.cbslocal.com)
- Ways To Help Tornado Victims In Oklahoma (dfw.cbslocal.com)