Oklahomans put selves in path of Hurricane Harvey, preparing for disaster response

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Nearly 100 people from Oklahoma are preparing or have already traveled to South Texas as Hurricane Harvey made landfall Friday night.

"That’s what we do, that’s what we sign up for and it gets you right here, to help people," said Steve Klapp, pointing to his heart, shortly before he boarded his flight to Houston Friday evening.

Klapp, an American Red Cross volunteer from Norman, and about a dozen other Red Cross volunteers from Oklahoma and Arkansas are on their way to the coastal areas of Texas.

"Basically, we’re setting up a disaster relief operation in the middle of a disaster. When everything else — nothing is working — we’re in the middle of setting up a business," said Klapp, a volunteer of nine years.

"This is a repeat type job but hurricanes are terrible. It involves everything: you get floods, you get hurt, wind damage, you get tornadoes, you get people who don’t follow instructions you just get a little bit of everything."

The Arkansas and Oklahoma Region with the American Red Cross sending five emergency response vehicles to the Texas Gulf Coast, each with a two-person team.

As Red Cross Volunteers mobilize, employees with OG&E will set out for the Lone Star State Monday morning.

"We are actually the closest utility who can send somebody down there right now, so many of the others are in the storm path," said Kathleen O'Shea, an OG&E spokeswoman.

OG&E, a member of the Midwest Mutual Assistance and Southeast Electrical Exchange, will be sending 80 employees and 46 trucks to a staging area in Shulenburg, Texas, leaving from the city's southwest side Monday morning.

"Our crews are coming from as far as our Woodward service center and our Ft. Smith service center, to go on down," O'Shea said.

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