Legislation to create a disaster recovery information website that is more accessible and that would allow multiple contributors including citizens wanting to document local damage was approved by the Oklahoma House of Representatives today.
State Rep. Joe Dorman, who authored the bill along with state Reps. Mike Turner (R-Oklahoma City) and Jason Murphey (R-Guthrie), said the website would be a critical resource for recovery efforts.
“Disaster recovery and assistance is extremely important in Oklahoma with the severity of the weather we often face,” said Dorman, D-Rush Springs. “Making sure the proper information is distributed quickly and accurately to people in need is one of the most crucial issues we face during these pressure situations.”
House Bill 2231 is the result of a collaborative effort between the bill’s authors, the Office of Management and Enterprise Services and the Office of Emergency Management, all of whom participated in a 2012 legislative study.
The idea of a mobile-friendly website resulted from Dorman’s experience responding to ice storms in his House district 3 years ago.
“I was fortunate enough to be trapped in a spot where I had phone and Internet access, so I posted information I received from the Office of Emergency Management, electric cooperatives, the Red Cross and others involved in disaster recovery efforts,” Dorman said. “It was amazing how many people signed up on my Facebook and Twitter accounts just to get information on the location of shelters, estimates on when power would be restored and ways to assist others in need. This led me to research what other states do to distribute disaster recovery information and, ultimately, file this legislation.”
The website would have a state map allowing individuals to click on their county to receive more local information from multiple sources that would be able to contribute to the website, Dorman said.
House Bill 2231 was approved by a vote of 89-1 and now advances to the state Senate, where it is being sponsored by state Sen. Patrick Anderson (R-Enid).