February Hazard of the Month: Levee Safety


Many Tulsans do not know about the levee system surrounding the West Tulsa community in the Eugene Field area south of the river, the Charles Page area north of the river, and the Sand Springs area between Highway 412 and the Arkansas River. These levees offer some flood-risk reduction. However, as they are aging they should not be relied on to provide complete protection. If you live in these flood-prone areas, it is even more important that steps be taken to secure your home and family from danger.

If you’re living or working in these inundation areas, or routinely drive through them, you should be aware of potential hazards and plan the best evacuation routes to keep your family safe. If you encounter a flooded road, Turn Around Don’t Drown.

Remain vigilant during inclement weather. Tune in to the local news media for information about potential flooding or dangers from dam failures. Flood sirens will be activated if a breach or high release is imminent. Pay attention to weather watches and warnings.

Most homeowners’ insurance does not cover damage from floods. You can protect your home and its contents with flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). For more information about flood insurance, contact Bill Robison, Floodplain Engineer at (918) 596-9475 or Laura Hendrix, Floodplain Administrator at (918) 596-9685 or visit floodsmart.gov.

Know Your Risk of Flooding. The City of Tulsa has maps and information on flood-prone areas as well as other flood-related information. To learn more about your risk of flooding, call the City of Tulsa Customer Care Center in Tulsa at 3-1-1 or outside Tulsa at (918) 596-2100 or visit cityoftulsa.org. To learn more about flood preparedness and safety, visit floodsafety.noaa.gov or ready.gov.

The Disaster Resilience Network is providing these hazards of the month in conjunction with the City of Tulsa’s Storm Water Drainage and Hazard Mitigation Advisory Board. These hazards are identified in the City of Tulsa Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan.

To see how this message has been shared on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, go to February Hazard of the Month.

You can also use a combined January / February Message on Dams and Levees by using this article.

Please let us know if you share this information by emailing tulsapartners@gmail.com.

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Oklahoma City: A Story of How Patriotism Becomes Radicalism

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Building in Tornado-Prone Areas

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Building Resilience in Tulsa

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February Key Message: Avoid flood-prone areas when taking shelter during tornado event

Seven members of a Guatemalan family in northwest Oklahoma City left their home and sought shelter in a storm drain during a tornado warning on May 31, 2013. All seven died in rushing floodwaters.

Tornadoes are dangerous, but the severe storms and flash flooding that often accompanies them can be just as dangerous. During a tornado warning, it is always best to use a safe room or shelter in place in a sturdy building with as many walls between you and the tornado as possible and at the lowest level of the house. If you are in a mobile home, find a sturdy building or preferably a safe room you can go to when the storm threatens and allow plenty of time to get to it. You should always avoid basements with a history of flooding. If you are outside taking shelter during a tornado and cannot reach a sturdy building, avoid taking shelter in a storm drain, creek, culvert, drainage ditch or other flood-prone area, as these areas can flood quickly during storms and you may be at risk of drowning.

Ready.gov reports that if you are outside with no shelter, “…there is no single research-based recommendation for what last-resort action to take because many factors can affect your decision. Possible actions include:
• Immediately get into a vehicle, buckle your seat belt and try to drive to the closest sturdy shelter. If your vehicle is hit by flying debris while you are driving, pull over and park.
• Take cover in a stationary vehicle. Put the seat belt on and cover your head with your arms and a blanket, coat or other cushion if possible.
• Lie in an area noticeably lower than the level of the roadway and cover your head with your arms and a blanket, coat or other cushion if possible.

“In all situations:
• Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.
• Never try to outrun a tornado in urban or congested areas in a car or truck. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter.
• Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries.”

For more information on Tulsa’s flood history and the location of floodplains and flood-prone areas, go to https://www.cityoftulsa.org/city-services/flood-control.aspx
For information on tornado safety, go to http://www.ready.gov/tornadoes or http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/tornado.

You can register your safe room online with your City utility account number. After registering, you can call the City of Tulsa Customer Care Center at 311 if you live inside the city, or (918) 596-2100 if outside of the city to request that Tulsa Fire Department personnel visit your home or business and obtain the exact GPS coordinates of your safe room.To participate in the registry, go to https://www.cityoftulsa.org/public-safety/storm-shelter-registration.aspx.
For more information from FEMA on Safe Rooms, please visit https://www.fema.gov/safe-rooms.

The Disaster Resilience Network shares these monthly key messages from the City of Tulsa Program for Public Information as part of the National Flood Insurance Program Community Rating System. Such documented outreach assists our community in keeping low flood insurance rates in Tulsa.

To see how this message has been shared on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, go to February Key Message. Please let us know if you share this information by emailing tulsapartners@gmail.com.

Picture credit Seth Levy from NWS.

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Working In Neighborhoods Department Receives Award for Tornado Recovery Efforts

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Do1Thing Business February Message: Essential Business Functions

A lot happens in your business every day. Some activities can be suspended, and some can’t. Prioritize which business functions are critical to the continued operation of your business in a disaster. Identify what functions can be delayed (and for how long) and what can be deferred in the event of a potential disaster. This is the foundation of your business continuity plan. For more information visit www.do1thing.com/topics/functions

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Do1Thing February Preparedness Message: Water

Providing a safe supply of drinking water for your household during a disaster is essential. If you buy commercially bottled water, it should be replaced once a year, you should also store your water in a cool, dark place to keep it tasting fresher longer. Learn more at www.do1thing.com/topics/water

The Disaster Resilience Network is partnering with OK VOAD (Oklahoma Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) in sharing preparedness information from Do 1 Thing. To see how this message has been shared on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, go to Do 1 Thing Personal February. To see multilingual versions of this message from Twitter and Facebook, go to February Do1Thing Multilingual Message. Please let us know if you share this information by emailing tulsapartners@gmail.com.

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#FORTIFIEDinOklahoma

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