EMSA's Lara O'Leary Receives Frizzell Award
Citation honors outstanding public information work in emergency management
NORMAN – Lara O’Leary, Public Information Officer for the Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA), was recognized for her dedicated commitment to keeping the public informed with the 2015 Ben Frizzell Memorial Award. The citation was presented by the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) during Wednesday’s emergency management awards banquet. The award recognizes an individual who provides outstanding service in the area of emergency management public information.
Lara O’Leary started with EMSA in 1999 and, since that time, has kept Oklahomans informed during natural disasters and emergency situations, including weather events, traffic accidents, contagious infections, man-made emergencies and other incidents that may affect public health.
O’Leary has proven her skills and solid communication strategy during hundreds of situations over the years. She works with the many agencies and organizations including the City of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma State Department of Health and Oklahoma Emergency Management teams during times of disaster such as tornadoes, floods, earthquakes and more and regularly provides educational safety information for the public amidst a crisis, ensuring the safety of Oklahomans.
On the public awareness side of her position, O’Leary developed proactive health alerts for Oklahomans, which have become a standard across the state. “EMSA heat alerts” were her creation in 2000 when an intense heat wave left many suffering. The program has since expanded to provide proactive freeze alerts and numerous other health-conscious education campaigns such as car seat safety checks.
“Lara has worked with media at the local, regional and national level during times of weather disasters and medical emergencies. Every single time she has represented herself, EMSA and Oklahoma with such grace and sensitivity for the public,” said EMSA President and Chief Executive Officer Stephen Williamson.
“Lara O’Leary has been an outstanding partner to emergency management and an ambassador for public safety information,” said OEM Director Albert Ashwood. “We commend her efforts as well as EMSA’s commitment to the need for public information during both disaster and non-disaster times.”
The Ben Frizzell Memorial Award is presented in honor of the late OEM PIO who served the agency from 1995 to 2000.