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Situation Update

Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management

Situation Update 1

September 3, 2016; 6:30 p.m.


Due to the earthquake activity Oklahoma has experienced today, emergency managers and other key agencies and organizations are responding to damage reports. The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management has staff in the field assisting with local damage assessments. In addition to emergency managers in the affected area, OEM remains in contact with officials at the Governor’s Coordinating Council on Seismic Activity, Oklahoma Department of Transportation, Oklahoma Corporation Commission, Oklahoma State Department of Health, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, Oklahoma Office of Homeland Security, Oklahoma Geological Survey, U.S. Geological Survey, American Red Cross, The Salvation Army and other Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (OK VOAD).

The earthquake was felt in multiple states and was the strongest the state has experienced since November 2011 when a magnitude 5.6 earthquake occurred in Lincoln County.


Governor Mary Fallin has declared a State of Emergency for Pawnee County due after a Magnitude 5.6 earthquake occurred near the city of Pawnee. Under the Executive Order, state agencies can make emergency purchases and acquisitions needed to expedite the delivery of resources to local jurisdictions. The declaration also marks a first step toward seeking federal assistance should it be necessary.


Pawnee Fire Department reports one injury related to the earthquake.


Lincoln County Emergency Management reports minor damage at two structures including one municipal building.

Pawnee County Emergency Management reports at least three homes damaged.

The City of Pawnee reports three buildings damaged.

Pawnee Nation Emergency Management reports six buildings that are uninhabitable. They have contacted a structural engineer to assess the buildings.

Damage assessments are ongoing in the impacted areas.


Oklahoma Corporation Commission's Oil and Gas Division (OGCD) is in the process of implementing a mandatory directive to shut down all Arbuckle disposal wells within a 725 square mile area, based on the location of the M5.6 earthquake near Pawnee. This action will impact a total of 37 wells in the area. The area includes 211 square miles of Osage County, which is outside of OGCD jurisdiction. OGCD is working with the Environmental Protection Agency, which has sole jurisdiction over disposal wells in Osage County. The EPA will determine what action to take in that area.

The schedule for shut down will vary according to the well, but all wells will be shut down within 10 days. The schedule is necessary because of warnings from seismologists that a large scale, sudden shutdown could cause an earthquake.

Additionally, the Corporation Commission reports no major damage has been identified by utilities, pipelines, or fuel infrastructure operators. All major systems are operating normally.

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation has completed inspections of all 180 state bridges within a 30-mile radius of the epicenter. All bridges are open to traffic and safe for travel. ODOT completed the inspections in less than six hours after the earthquake. Minor cosmetic damage was noted on two bridges.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is inspecting all dams within a 50-mile radius of the the epicenter. These include dams at Birch, Cleveland Levee, Heyburn, Kaw, Keystone, and Skiatook.


Residents are asked to report earthquake damage to local emergency management or to the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management through the OK Emergency Mobile Application. OK Emergency app users may submit photos of earthquake damage to their homes or businesses on Apple, Android, and Blackberry devices.


Before an earthquake

  • Assemble an emergency preparedness kit for home and your vehicle.
  • Have a family emergency plan and identify a safe place to take cover, such as under a sturdy table or desk.
  • Teach your family how to “Drop, Cover and Hold” during an earthquake.
  • Check for hazards inside or outside your home or office. Heavy objects and falling hazards such as bookcases, hanging picture frames and other items can be dangerous if they are unstable and not anchored securely to a wall or the floor.
  • Know emergency telephone numbers.
  • Contact your insurance agent to review existing policies and to inquire about earthquake insurance
  • Sign up for Earthquake Notifications on the USGS site as well as learn about other products and services they offer.

During an earthquake

  • “Drop, Cover and Hold” - DROP to the floor; take COVER under a sturdy table or other piece of furniture. If there isn’t a table or desk near you, seek cover against an interior wall and protect your head and neck with your arms. HOLD ON until the shaking stops.
  • Stay away from glass or bookshelves, mirrors or other items that could fall.
  • If outside: stand in an open area away from underpasses and overpasses, buildings, trees, telephone, and electrical lines.
  • If on the road: drive away from underpasses and overpasses; stop in a safe area; stay in your vehicle.

After an earthquake

  • Check for injuries and provide first aid if necessary.
  • Do a safety check: check for gas, water, downed power lines and shortages. Turn off appropriate utilities, if you shut off the main gas valve do not turn it back on yourself. Wait for the gas company to check for leaks and make repairs.
  • Turn on the radio and listen for instructions on safety or recovery actions.
  • Use the telephone for emergencies only.
  • When safe follow your family emergency plan.
  • Be cautious when opening cabinets.
  • Stay away from damaged areas.
  • Be prepared for aftershocks.
  • If you are able to, log onto the USGS site and fill out a “Did you feel it?” form.

DIAL 211

For Oklahoma residents seeking non-emergency disaster or health and human service information, please contact your local 2-1-1. Services are available 24 hours a day by dialing 2-1-1 from your home or cellular telephone. Please only call 911 for emergencies.


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