Oklahoma Payne County to develop community emergency response team

The Oklahoma Payne County Office of Emergency Management recently announced that it will establish a community emergency response team this year to serve the community through disaster relief.

Director of the OEM Jeff Kuhn said the team will recruit up to 30 volunteers by the spring to increase emergency and disaster preparedness and response, including response to wildfires, earthquakes and tornadoes, Stillwater News Press reports.

"We make plans for every kind of disaster that you could come up with," Kuhn said, according to Stillwater News Press.

Kuhn is the only person hired by the county to handle emergency preparedness in Payne County. Kuhn said that isn't an issue, as all neighboring counties work together to create effective, multilateral response plans and call upon one another when in need, Stillwater News Press reports.

"One of the biggest advantages for Payne County is that all the emergency managers work together - Cushing, Perkins, Glencoe and Stillwater," Kuhn said, according to Stillwater News Press.

Oklahoma has seen an increase in earthquakes at levels above 5.0, which can cause significant damage to homes. Oncoming community emergency response team members can expect to be trained on disaster response to meet this increase in earthquake prevalence, and Kuhn said the American Red Cross also provides aid to the county in times of disaster.

Oklahoma county departments will host a fair in April on disaster response to help the community prepare before a disaster strikes.

"We'll get through any disaster we have and everybody will be prepared and no one will lose their life," Kuhn said, according to Stillwater News Press. "That's the goal."