Oklahoma Strong

Natural or man-made, disasters can be frightening, chaotic, and tragic events.  In these events, nurses play a fundamental role in response and patient care. In our series, “Nursing and Disasters”, prominent voices in the field give voice to ensure that all nurses are personally and professionally prepared for a disaster.

On Monday, May 20, an EF-5 tornado ripped through the community of Moore, Oklahoma. It traveled 17 miles during a 40-minute period. At its maximum, it was 1.3 miles wide with winds topping 200 mph. At least 51 people were killed and officials said the death toll was expected to rise. In the immediate aftermath of the tornado, first responders, fire, police, EMS, and the Office of Emergency Management had begun the formidable task of rescue and recovery. Unified Command was led by the Moore Fire Department.  The state website provided current information and listing of services.

Overnight, President Barack Obama approved a Major Disaster Declaration for Oklahoma, making federal funding available to support affected individuals, and additional federal assistance to support immediate response and recovery efforts.

In a joint news conference on May 21 with local, state and national responders to the disaster, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin said, “In the midst of tragedy and the loss of life, we have also seen the resilience and the courage and the strength of our people. We will get through this. We will overcome, We will rebuild and we will regain our strength.”

The primary response to the disaster is being led by the governor, local officials and first responders.  Speaking on behalf of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA),  Administrator W. Craig Fugate said,  “Our job is to support and it is unfortunate once again that we are seeing what tornados can do, but  you are also seeing the investment in public safety and what the commitment in training and exercise does when disaster does strike.”

For those who are outside Moore and who want to help, Fugate advised that the the best way to do so is to give generously through charities like the Red Cross and Salvation Army. “Stuff isn’t as great as cash when it comes to the longer term needs for a lot of folks who have lost everything,” he said.

To support relief efforts, visit, American Red Cross at www.redcross.org and The Salvation Army, www.salvationarmyusa.org.

The OK Strong Disaster Relief Fund has been established by Governor Fallin, in coordination with the United Way of Central Oklahoma. It will assist with the long-term medical, emotional and educational needs of victims of the May 20 tornado in Moore and the May 19 tornado near Shawnee. Donations for the long-term needs can be made by calling (405) 236-8441 or donating online at www.unitedwayokc.org.

Read more: http://foxnewsinsider.com/2013/05/21/fema-director-craig-fugate-what-you-can-do-help?page=1#ixzz2TzfX5Lif
Read more: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2013/05/21/NWS-upgrades-Oklahoma-tornado-to-EF-5/UPI-21801369116074/#ixzz2TzbZPOm4