Oklahomans asked to report recent winter storm damage

On Monday, February 23, Governor Kevin Stitt announced he sent a request to the White House for additional federal aid for all 77 of Oklahoma’s counties as a result of this month’s unprecedented winter storm. Stitt is pursuing federal assistance to aid homeowners, renters, business owners, and government entities affected by the February 8-20 winter weather event. 

This amended declaration, if approved, would provide relief for Oklahomans who suffered storm-related damage to their homes, or businesses through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Public assistance Program. FEMA’s Public Administrative Program would supply support for cities, counties, and tribes that had infrastructure damage, as well as eligible response expenditures.

The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security Director Mark Gower said the severe winter storms caused widespread damage and cost local communities millions of dollars. “This major disaster declaration will help Oklahoma families and allow local and state governments to seek help with eligible infrastructure repair costs,” he said.

Homeowners, renters, and business owners are asked to report property damage or other “significant winter-storm-related impacts.”

The Oklahoma Emergency Management Public Information Officer Keli Cain told the Sapulpa Times that besides details of property damage, some of the questions asked on the online survey include things like days without water, gas, or electricity, any injuries sustained during the storm, or if you were displaced by the storm.

When asked why online surveys were being done instead of what is called “windshield surveys,” (surveying the damage in a drive-by manner) Cain said they use the online surveys for people in addition to still doing those drive-through, in-person damage assessments. “With this particular event…If you do have damage it’s probably your ceiling has collapsed from a burst pipe, or your living room flooded from a burst pipe or something like that, that we wouldn’t be able to see anyway, even if we were doing those drive-through damage assessments.” She said that the form also allows you to take pictures of your damage.”If you have pictures of the damage we would definitely want to see that included in your report on the survey.”

Cain stated that the data compiled from these reports will help make the case for additional assistance requested by Governor Stitt. Approximately 2500 people have submitted damage reports on the website, “but we that know are so many more that haven’t reported yet.” To submit a report, go to damage.ok.gov.

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Charles Betzler

Charles Betzler

Charles Betzler is a contributing writer for Sapulpa Times.