Oklahoma Higher Education Campus E-Clips sponsored by the Communicators Council

October 2013

OSU Group Trains Emergency Responders for Disasters Such as the Moore Tornado

Providing training to incident management teams (IMT) for unforeseen disasters is an area Fire Service Training at Oklahoma State University provides to all citizens of Oklahoma.

Incident management teams are thrust into action for natural disasters such as hurricanes and tornadoes, terrorist threats, airplane crashes and other events. Success in managing such incidents is a direct result of the training that emergency responders receive.

“OSU is the leader in the nation at training in incident management. No one else is even close,” said Paul Tikalsky, dean of the OSU College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology. “Incident management is how do we turn chaos into order as quickly as possible.”

Oklahoma State trains more than 33,000 people a year in fire service training and incident management.

“We train teams for all types of emergency response in the state of Oklahoma, but of course the hope is they never have to act on it,” says Ed Kirtley, director of Fire Service Training, an outreach unit of the OSU College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology.

Emergency responders, and the training they received from OSU Fire Service Training, faced a monumental challenge in the aftermath of the May tornado that hit Moore, Okla.

Operations after the Moore tornado were managed by one of five Oklahoma incident management teams trained by OSU Fire Service Training.

“The critical importance of all the work we’ve been doing the past few years made sense,” says Kirtley. “Even though I have been in the fire service over 30 years and have always been a strong proponent of the IMT, I had never imagined we would engage one in an operation of this scale disaster.

“I knew at that moment, Oklahoma State University needed to continue to do whatever was necessary to provide this training because it matters — to all of us living in Oklahoma,” Kirtley said.

Moore Fire Chief Gary Bird had high praise for the incident management team that assisted his community. "I cannot say thanks enough for everything they have done. They are amazing.”

OSU Fire Service Training works with the Oklahoma Office of Homeland Security, Oklahoma Office of Emergency Management and Oklahoma Highway Patrol in delivering this effective training.

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