Oklahoma Emergency Management and Homeland Security Authorities Summarized.
CRS Report for Congress
Oklahoma Emergency Management and
Homeland Security Authorities Summarized
March 23, 2004
Specialist in American National Government
Government and Finance Division
L. Cheryl Runyon and Kae M. Warnock
Government and Finance Division
Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress
Oklahoma Emergency Management and Homeland
Security Authorities Summarized
The Oklahoma legislature has enacted four statutes that address emergency
management issues: the Emergency Response Act, the Emergency Management Act
of 2003, the Emergency Response and Notification Act, and the Catastrophic Health
Emergency Powers Act. There are six entities with key responsibility during an
emergency, including the governor and the state Emergency Management Agency.
Financial aid to political subdivisions is given in the form of claims to federal funds
and state emergency accounts. Aid to individuals comes from state and federal
disaster relief funds. The Emergency Interim Executive and Judicial Succession Act
provides for succession of judiciary and other public offices in emergencies. The
Emergency Management Interim Legislative Succession Act provides for the
continued operation of the legislature. Alternate locations for both the state seat of
government and local seats of government are provided for in statute. Oklahoma
uses mutual aid agreements and the Emergency Management Assistance Compact to
facilitate the exchange of aid.
This report is one of a series that profiles emergency management and homeland
security statutory authorities of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico,
American Samoa, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Each profile identifies the
more significant elements of state statutes, generally as codified. Congressional
readers may wish to conduct further searches for related provisions using the Internet
link presented in the last section of this report. The National Conference of State
Legislatures provided primary research assistance in the development of these
profiles under contract to the Congressional Research Service (CRS). Summary
information on all of the profiles is presented in CRS Report RL32287. This report
will be updated as developments warrant.
Entities with Key Responsibilities.................................1
Types of Assistance............................................3
Continuity of Government Operations..............................5
For Further Research...........................................7
List of Tables
Table 1. Key Emergency Management and Homeland Security
Terms Defined in Oklahoma Statutes, with Citations..................6
Oklahoma Emergency Management and
Homeland Security Authorities Summarized
Entities with Key Responsibilities
Governor: The governor exercises general direction and control of the
Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management and is authorized to: assume
direct operational control in an emergency beyond local control; manage emergency
resources; direct the preparation of a comprehensive plan and program for emergency
management resources; and cooperate with the President and federal agencies in
matters related to emergency management including drills, mobilization of forces,
warnings, and evacuation of civilian population (Okla. Stat. tit. 63, §683.2; tit. 63,
§683.8-.9). During a catastrophic health emergency the governor may suspend
provisions of regulatory statutes governing state business as deemed necessary,
transfer personnel, mobilize the national guard, and seek federal assistance (Okla.
Stat. tit. 63, §6403).
Catastrophic Health Emergency Planning Task Force: The task force prepares
a plan to coordinate the response to a catastrophic health emergency that includes
notification requirements, the role of law enforcement agencies, evacuation methods,
treatment of infected persons, and other matters (Okla. Stat. tit. 63, §6105).
Department of Emergency Management: The department: coordinates the
activities of emergency management organizations; develops and maintains a
comprehensive all-hazards mitigation plan for the state; supervises implementation
of the plan (Okla. Stat. tit. 63-683.4 D.); develops flood hazard mitigation measures
and plans; helps local governments request state and federal disaster assistance; sets
mitigation priorities; and serves as lead agency for FEMA and other hazard
mitigation programs (Okla. Stat. tit. 63, §683.2). The Office of Volunteerism within
the department develops and promotes emergency management volunteerism (Okla.
Stat. tit. 63, §683.26, .28).
Emergency Management Advisory Council: The council advises the governor
and the director of the Department of Emergency Management on all emergency
management matters (Okla. Stat. tit. 63, §683.6).
Local governments: All incorporated jurisdictions are charged with developing
an emergency management program. Counties are to employ qualified emergency
management directors, municipalities must either have a director or maintain an
agreement with the county for services. Local organizations must develop and
maintain emergency operations plans that address preparedness, response, recovery
and mitigation, and is coordinated with the state (Okla. Stat. tit. 63, §683.11). Local
first responders are to notify local emergency management directors of significant
events, who must promptly report such events to the state emergency management
department (Okla. Stat. tit. 63, §683 11. D. E.).
State hazard mitigation team: The team reviews and recommends updates to the
state comprehensive all-hazard mitigation plan and reviews applications for the flood
hazard mitigation program (Okla. Stat. tit. 63, §683.6). The team also is authorized
to recommend priorities for flood hazard mitigation projects (Okla. Stat. tit. 63,
Public Health Authority: The statute provides that the authority may exercise
specified powers concerning the disposal of human remains during a state of
catastrophic health emergency (Okla. Stat. tit. 63, §6502). Also, the authority must
provide information to the public during an emergency on protective actions taken
and to be taken by residents (Okla. Stat. tit. 63, §6701).
Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Commission: The commission
implements provisions of the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-
Know Act and designates local planning committees (Okla. Stat. tit. 27A, §4-2-102).
The Emergency Response Act provides for the coordination of responses to
dangerous substance incidents (Okla. Stat. tit. 27A, §4-1-101).
The Emergency Response and Notification Act provides for a continuing means
to help political subdivisions carry out responsibilities related to flood disasters
(Okla. Stat. tit. 63, §690.1-6).
The Catastrophic Health Emergency Powers Act requires development of a
comprehensive plan to provide for coordinated responses to catastrophic health
emergencies and the collection and reporting of related information (Okla. Stat. tit.
State agencies must have written plans and procedures in place to protect against
natural and man-made disasters. Such plans must be in concurrence with the
“Emergency Standard Operating Procedures” guidebook issued by the state
emergency management department, with annual reports provided to the department,
which must report to the governor and legislature on the status of state emergency
preparedness (Okla. Stat. tit. 63, §683.2 C.).
The department of health for the state must offer a vaccination program for first
responders who may be exposed to infectious diseases at disaster locations (Okla.
Stat. tit. 63, §682.1).
The public health authority may purchase, allocate, and distribute vaccines and
pharmaceutical agents to prepare for, control, or respond to a catastrophic health
emergency (Okla. Stat. tit. 63, §6503).
The existence of a natural or man-made emergency may be proclaimed by the
governor or by concurrent resolution of the legislature if an emergency has occurred
or is anticipated in the immediate future. An emergency may be terminated by
proclamation of the governor or through concurrent resolution (Okla. Stat. tit. 63,
The statute authorizes the governor to declare an emergency and terminate the
emergency when order is restored (Okla. Stat. tit. 21, §1321.3).
The governor is authorized to issue a “state of catastrophic health emergency”
by executive order, which activates emergency plans. Such a declaration terminates
automatically after 30 days unless renewed by the governor. Following issuance of
the declaration the legislature must automatically be called into special session at
tit. 63, §6401 - 6405).
Political subdivisions have the authority to declare a local emergency and to
enter into contracts and incur obligations to respond to such an emergency (Okla.
Stat. tit. 63, §683 11. F.).
Types of Assistance
The statute authorizes assistance programs for public losses and needs sustained
in flood disasters (Okla. Stat. tit. 63, §690.1), including housing assistance for
disaster victims (Okla. Stat. tit. 63, §1065).
The statute authorizes disaster relief for assistance to be provided on private
land or homes to remove health and safety hazards and return the homes to habitable
conditions (Okla. Stat. tit. 62, §2202).
The statute authorizes the provision of dwellings for disaster victims and for
defense workers engaged in national defense activities during a time of war (Okla.
Stat. tit. 63, §1065).
“Emergency assistance” may be extended to disaster victims generally for not
more than 90 days (Okla. Stat. tit. 56, §26.8).
The Emergency Management Assistance Compact is codified (Okla. Stat. tit.
The state’s emergency management and mitigation functions must be
coordinated with federal, state and local governments, and with private agencies
(Okla. Stat. tit. 63, §683.2 B.).
During a state of catastrophic health emergency the public health authority may
appoint and prescribe duties of out-of-state emergency health care providers as
necessary for the duration of the state of emergency (Okla. Stat. tit. 63, §6602 2.).
Directors of local emergency management organizations may develop mutual
aid agreements and must render aid in accordance with the agreements (Okla. Stat.
tit. 63, §683.12).
Statutory requirements for licenses to practice professional, mechanical, or other
skills do not apply to workers from other states providing mutual aid licensed in their
home states (Okla. Stat. tit. 63, §683.13. B - D).
The governor is authorized to use money in the state emergency fund to defray
expenses from emergencies. The fund consists of transferred or appropriated funds
and is not subject to fiscal year limitations. Funding is limited to $100,000 per
geographical area per calendar year. The governor may use funds for specified
needs—if other needs exist, concurrence must be obtained from the state contingency
review board (Okla. Stat. tit. 62, §139.42; tit. 62, §139.45-48).
The emergency management disaster relief matching fund consists of funds
appropriated or otherwise received, and is not subject to fiscal year limitations (Okla.
Stat. tit. 63-§683.24).
During a state of “catastrophic health emergency” the governor may transfer
money from any fund as may be necessary under specified conditions. Expenditures
are limited to $50 million per fiscal year (Okla. Stat. tit. 63, §6802).
Political subdivisions are authorized to make appropriations for the expenses of
their emergency management organizations. State officials may accept offers of aid
from the federal government or private entities (Okla. Stat. tit. 63, §683.17 A - C).
The Department of Emergency Management must develop and maintain flood
hazard mitigation measures consistent with federal plans to coordinate flood hazard
mitigation plans, and to provide guidance, information and training to political
subdivisions on requests for state and federal natural disaster assistance (Okla. Stat.
tit. 63, §690.3).
Any political subdivision may apply to the Department of Emergency
Management for a grant or loan for flood hazard mitigation projects (Okla. Stat. tit.
Health care providers must report indicators that persons may have health
conditions that might cause a catastrophic health emergency (Okla. Stat. tit. 63,
§6301). The public health authority must investigate cases identified by such
providers (Okla. Stat. tit. 63, §6302 - 6303).
School authorities are authorized to design buildings and make plans for
protection from tornadoes and severe weather. Each institution must have plans in
place for protection from man-made and natural disasters (Okla. Stat. tit. 63, §681).
Continuity of Government Operations
The statute provides for emergency interim succession of executive branch
officials and judges (Okla. Stat. tit. 63, §685.2; tit. 63, §685.11) and for the
continued operation of the legislature (Okla. Stat. tit. 63, §686.1 - .14).
The state constitution provides for temporary succession to the powers and
duties of public offices and directs the legislature to adopt other measures to ensure
the continuity of governmental operations (Constitution, Article V, Section 63, Okla.
Stat. tit. 63, §686.1; tit. 63, §687.1).
The statute authorizes the governor to order a temporary disaster location for the
seat of state government inside or outside the state (Okla. Stat. tit. 63 §687.3).
The statute provides for temporary disaster locations for seats of local
governments (Okla. Stat. tit. 63, §687.4).
The statute provides for leave with pay for not to exceed 15 working days to a
state (Okla. Stat. tit. 74 §840-2.23A), municipal (Okla. Stat. tit 11 §22-135), or
county employee (Okla. Stat. tit 19 §180.90) affected by a presidentially declared
“national disaster” in the state.
The statute provides for leave with pay to a state employee in the executive
branch who is a certified disaster service volunteer of the American Red Cross and
participates in specialized disaster relief services within the state (Okla. Stat. tit 74
The Disaster Relief Act authorizes aid to be provided for private land or homes
(Okla. Stat. tit. 62, §2201-2202).
The Homeland Security Act created the Office of Interim Homeland Security
(Okla. Stat. tit. 74, §10.6).
Public agencies are generally prohibited from holding executive sessions, except
for specified discussions and communications that include assessments of
government vulnerabilities and plans to deter or respond to acts of terrorism (Okla.
Stat. tit. 25, §307).
Full benefits of governmental service are extended to persons involved in
emergency management functions (Okla. Stat. tit. 63, §683.13 A.).
Property owners who permit evacuated persons to seek shelter during an actual
or impending emergency are given immunity from liability (Okla. Stat. tit. 63,
Table 1. Key Emergency Management and Homeland Security
Terms Defined in Oklahoma Statutes, with Citations
Biochemical assaultOkla. Stat. tit. 21, §1268.1 4.
Biochemical terrorismOkla. Stat. tit. 21, §1268.1 1.
BioterrorismOkla. Stat. tit. 63, §682.1 A.3.; 63, §6104 1.
Catastrophic health emergencyOkla. Stat. tit. 63, §6104 2.
Disaster areaOkla. Stat. tit. 21, §1210 1.
Disaster locationsOkla. Stat. tit. 63, §682.1 A.4.
EmergencyOkla. Stat. tit. 63, §683.3 3.
Emergency managementOkla. Stat. tit. 63, §683.3 1.
Emergency Operations PlanOkla. Stat. tit. 63, §683.3 2.
First respondersOkla. Stat. tit. 63, §682.1 A. 5.
FloodOkla. Stat. tit. 63, §690.2 4.
Flood hazard mitigationOkla. Stat. tit. 63, §690.2 5.
Flood hazard mitigationOkla. Stat. tit. 63, §690.2 6.
Flood disasterOkla. Stat. tit. 63, §690.2 7.
FloodingOkla. Stat. tit. 63, §690.2
Hazard mitigationOkla. Stat. tit. 63, §683.3 5.
Infectious diseaseOkla. Stat. tit. 63, §6104 7.
IsolationOkla. Stat. tit. 63, §6104.8.
Local organization forOkla. Stat. tit. 63, §683.3 6.
Major disasterOkla. Stat. tit. 63, §1054
Man-made disasterOkla. Stat. tit. 63, §686.3 2.; §687.2 2.
Natural disasterOkla. Stat. tit. 63, §683.3 8.
QuarantineOkla. Stat. tit. 63, §6104 13.
Radiation fallout sheltersOkla. Stat. tit. 63, §688.3 8.
Significant eventsOkla. Stat. tit. 63, §683.3 4.
State Hazard Mitigation TeamOkla. Stat. tit. 63, §690.2 10.
Terrorist activityOkla. Stat. tit. 21, §1268.1 5.
TerrorismOkla. Stat. tit. 21, §1268.1 2.
For Further Research
The citations noted above and other elements of the state code for Oklahoma
may be searched at: [http://www.lsb.state.ok.us/].