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HOMELAND SECURITY RESPONSE UNITS DELIVERED TO LOCAL FIRE DEPARTMENTS

03/09/2006

Oklahoma Regional Response Units

OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma Office of Homeland Security (OKOHS) and Governor Brad Henry announced today the delivery of five Regional Hazardous Materials (HazMat) Response Units to the communities of Claremore, Lawton, Moore/Norman, Oklahoma City and Tulsa. These units are the largest component of the five-tiered Oklahoma Regional Response System, a project that OKOHS has obligated more than $16 million toward.

"The Regional Response System was designed to provide every Oklahoman a level of security and peace of mind," said Oklahoma Homeland Security Director, Kerry Pettingill. "The Large HazMat units are strategically placed along the Interstate 44 corridor in order to allow for a quick response statewide. And, although it is designed as a HazMat response unit, it has the capability to respond to any disaster ? whether natural or manmade."

The Regional Response System includes 53 units representing five levels of response and is funded through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Grant Program. Aside from the five large HazMat units, there are 20 Intermediate Units, 24 Small Decontamination Units, two Urban Search and Rescue Units and two Mass Decontamination Units. The Small Decontamination Units were delivered to the local communities last summer.

"Oklahoma has seen its share of disasters. Whether the massive tornado of May 3, 1999, or the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the response community has risen to the occasion, always giving the best of themselves with the equipment they had," said Gov. Henry. "This Regional Response System, designed in coordination with OKOHS and the response community, will put the most advanced equipment on the ground across the state, increasing the protection and security of all Oklahomans."

The entire system will be standardized allowing each unit to be compatible with the others. In addition, there will be an interoperable communications system on the Intermediate and Large HazMat units that will operate in conjunction with the state 800 MHz radio system. This will Facilitate communication abilities at a disaster scene, like the wildfires Oklahoma firefighters have been battling since October.

"I want to thank these Chiefs and their communities for taking on this tremendous responsibility," said Gov. Henry. "The people of this state will benefit tremendously thanks to your willingness to participate in the system."

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