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.
Meals: Guests are provided three meals daily – about 12,000 meals served to date. The Salvation Army will provide breakfast through Friday. 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 the meals.
Beds: 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.
Hygiene: Portable showers have been provided. Handicap accessible toilets are now onsite. Hand sanitizer is also widely available throughout the facility, and guests are encouraged to take advantage of the sanitizer for everyone’s wellbeing. The Red Cross is offering comfort kits – toothpaste, body gel/shampoo and razors – to evacuees.
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.
Portable washers and dryers are onsite for guests’ laundry needs.
Medical: The Medical Emergency Clinic has changed its hours of operation to 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. However the clinic will be open until 10 p.m. tonight.
EMSA, The American Red Cross, Oklahoma City-County Health Department and the Oklahoma Medical Relief Corps are providing basic health services. Services include assisting guests with basic first aid, as well as taking care of individuals with ongoing medical issues such as diabetes and heart-related problems. Trained staff and volunteers with DHS are attending to those with special needs, such as wheelchairs and sign language services, as well as providing mental health services to those in need.
Child Services: Baptist Disaster Relief is providing a children’s activity center. Volunteers trained to assist children in traumatic situations will staff the area on Tuesday. The American Red Cross is working on providing eight basketball goals and board games for families.
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 Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office 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.
The United Way of Central Oklahoma and The Oklahoman provided several hundred newspapers to guests this morning. The United Way also is working to get coverage from local news stations and other TV programming on TVs throughout the shelter. They are also working with Yellow Cab to provide transportation for guests to and from local hospitals and pharmacies with the proper casework. The United Way is working with area social services providers to evaluate unmet needs on a short-term and long-term basis.
200 additional volunteers were trained by the American Red Cross yesterday and scheduled to work 12-hour shifts. 75 volunteers work per shift.
Pets: 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: Self-evacuees should call 2-1-1 if they need assistance.
Contributions: 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.
Re-entry into affected area: Preparations are being made through the Oklahoma Office of Emergency Management to coordinate transportation of evacuees back home. No time frame has been set.