Oklahoma City Evacuees Support Shelter Situation Update 3
September 3, 2008
The City of Oklahoma City and community agencies are providing temporary shelter and critical services for individuals evacuated from New Orleans, Louisiana and the surrounding area. To date, 1,701 people are registered in the Oklahoma City Evacuees Support Center.
Return to Louisiana
Preparations are being made through the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management to coordinate transportation of evacuees back home. Departures are expected to begin Thursday, September 4 and will be staggered, depending on damage in the evacuee’s parish. Louisiana is responsible for the bus schedule.
More than 660 people have volunteered at the shelter since Sunday, August 31.
Guests are provided three meals daily – about 15,300 meals have been served to date. The Salvation Army is providing breakfast through Friday, should it be necessary. Snacks and cold bottled water are provided throughout the day. Southern Baptist Disaster Relief is preparing lunch and dinner. Volunteers with the American Red Cross are serving and coordinating the meals.
The Tulsa and Central Oklahoma chapters of the American Red Cross and the State Department of Emergency Management have more than 4,000 cots and blankets available to evacuees.
Portable showers and handicap accessible toilets are provided. Hand sanitizer is also widely available throughout the facility, and guests are encouraged to take advantage of the sanitizer for everyone’s wellness. The Red Cross is providing comfort kits with toothpaste, body gel/shampoo and razors. Laundry service is provided.
Oklahoma City-County Health Department staff is making sure that food service areas meet health code standards. The health department is also monitoring shower facilities and other public areas to ensure the health of the guests. Nurses and epidemiologists are monitoring the overall health of the guests and if a problem is suspected the EMSA medical staff onsite is notified.
The Medical Emergency Clinic has changed its hours of operation to 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health, EMSA, American Red Cross of Central Oklahoma, Oklahoma City-County Health Department and Oklahoma Medical Reserve Corps continue to support evacuees through the operation of a medical clinic. The Oklahoma Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) has provided as many as 68 volunteers daily to provide assistance for the clinic. The OU College of Pharmacy and Integris Health have also provided critical assistance in meeting needs.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health has also collaborated in supporting 30 patients evacuated from Louisiana hospitals through the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS).
Trained staff and volunteers with OKDHS are attending to those with special needs, such as wheelchairs and sign language services, as well as providing mental health services.
- Transports to area hospitals: 74
- Treated about 200 people onsite
- Caseworkers through the Red Cross and Sunbeam Family Services are providing mental health evaluations and actively searching for anyone in distress.
- EMSA has an onsite pharmacy with the help of OMRC. Volunteer physicians are on site and have filled approximately 580 prescriptions.
- Medical Crew: 7+ includes staff from EMSA and OMRC
- Ambulances on site: 5
- Chaplains are providing assistance
Baptist Disaster Relief is providing a children’s activity center, caring for infants to 7 year-olds. Diapers are being provided. The Salvation Army provided eight basketball goals and board games for families. Inflatable toys and movies (with a big screen) are provided for the older kids. Volunteers trained to assist children in traumatic situations are available.
Safety and Security
The Oklahoma City Police Department has 15 officers stationed inside the facility to provide security to guests and volunteers. COLERT (Central Oklahoma Law Enforcement Response Team) has 10 additional law enforcement personnel outside of the facility. COLERT is made up of 30 law enforcement agencies from central Oklahoma police departments. The Edmond Police Department is coordinating and supervising the outside security of the facility. All guests are allowed to come and go; however, they are asked to abide by a nightly curfew. Gates close nightly at 9 p.m. and reopen at 7 a.m. Guests will not be able to enter the shelter during this time.
Members of the State Department of Agriculture and City of Oklahoma City Animal Shelter continue to care for guests’ pets. The onsite pet shelter provides a temporary home for 30 pets, including cats, dogs, fish, a bird, a hamster and one certified service animal. Pet owners have access to their pets throughout their stay at the shelter.
Self-evacuees should call 2-1-1 if they need assistance.
Monetary donations are best. The shelter does not need any donations of clothing, toys or other items. Citizens are encouraged to make a donation to the relief agency of their choice.
The United Way of Central Oklahoma and The Oklahoman provided newspapers to guests this morning. The United Way and Oklahoma City’s Information Technology Department provided streaming video from Louisiana TV stations. They are also providing taxis to and from local hospitals and pharmacies, on a needs basis. The United Way is working with area social services providers to evaluate unmet needs on a short-term and long-term basis.