Changes Made in the Wake of a 2002 Ice Storm: 10 Years Later

In January, 2002, Enid, Oklahoma, suffered a paralyzing ice storm with the repercussions of that storm lasting for weeks. Now, 10 years later, Enid and Red Cross officials look back on the impact of that one storm and the changes in procedures that have taken place since then. The findings were summarized in a recent article.

Red Cross: What Was Learned

  • Pre-stage shelter supplies, such as cots and blankets, to cut down on the amount of time it takes to open a shelter. Pre-staging also helps with the logistics involved in running multiple shelters at the same time.
  • The Red Cross has established a Website, the goal of which is to reunite families with their concerned relatives.
  • More reliance on social media to communicate with the public and to more quickly spread information during a crisis.
  • The addition of a smartphone app showing the location of Red Cross shelters nationwide.

Changes in Hospital Operations

  • The emergency power system in Enid has been restructured with equipment added to allow for the diverting of power between various pieces of equipment.
  • The area hospitals’ response and preparedness abilities have seen a major change with the addition of the Hospital Incident Command System (HICS). The HICS is a national standard in hospital emergency training in response to regional and nationwide emergencies.
  • The hospitals have also used federal funds to improve communications through radio and phone lines.

Changes in the Utility Sector

  • The OG&E Incident Command System (ICS) was created in 2008 to help coordinate response, maximize resources so that they reach priority areas, and make the communication process more streamlined.
  • Newer equipment has been added to this sector, as well as a strengthening of its vendor network for the acquisition of essential supplies in case of an emergency.
  • The utility sector has increased the amount of consumable supplies, such as road salt, as well as free services to mitigate power loss prevention efforts, such as the pickup and removal of trees limbs and bushes trimmed by residents.

Emergency Personnel

  • Back-up generators have been added to help power essential services.
  • Emergency personnel have improved the response infrastructure and increased redundancy in emergency response communications.

The Implementation of NIMS

Another initiative that has helped to improve disaster response times since the 2002 incident is the induction of the National Incident Management System, or NIMS. NIMS is a nationwide emergency response framework that came about in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Since the inception of NIMS, organizations nationwide have stepped up and standardized their efforts in responding to disasters, both national and local. NIMS has changed how U.S. organizations respond to disasters.

For more information about lessons learned from the 2002 weather disaster in Enid and the resulting changes in disaster preparedness and response, visit: