Office of Emergency Management

What Is Emergency Management?
Emergency Management is the discipline of dealing with and avoiding risks. It is a discipline that involves preparing for disasters before they occur, disaster response, as well as supporting and rebuilding society after natural or human-made disasters have happened. In general, Emergency management is the continuous process by which all individuals, groups, and communities manage hazards in an effort to avoid the impact of disasters resulting from the hazards, natural or man-made.
The Absentee Shawnee Tribe Office of Emergency Management
AST EM is a division of the Department of Public Safety under the direction of the Director of Public Safety. The office is located at the new Public Safety Center located at 2025 Gordon Cooper Dr on the AST Complex. The tribe has an alternate location for emergency operation, located at the AST Police sub-station in Little Axe. The Emergency Operation Centers are manned by an Incident Command Team to coordinate responding agencies and disaster response operations.
The Absentee Shawnee Tribe's Emergency Management mission is to support our tribal citizens and provide information to educate our Tribal Nation to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.
Emergency Response
During emergencies, AST EM coordinates EOC tribal emergency operations including:
  • Monitor potential severe weather events
  • Respond to emergencies and disasters in the AST tribal boundary.
  • Evaluating the possibility for securing state, federal disaster assistance
  • Managing tribal resources
  • Providing emergency public information
  • Developing and distributing situation reports
  • Conducting preliminary damage assessments
Tornado Safety

Preparation Steps: Before, During, and After a Tornado

Being prepared for a tornado doesn’t just mean shelter - though that is arguably the most important thing about tornado safety.  Being prepared before, during, and after a tornado ensures your safety, minimizes the impact of the storm on your life and property, and enables a quicker, more organized recovery process.

Before the tornado

There are a few things you can do to prepare the area outside and around your home. For example, securing outdoor items; tieing down, or bringing smaller inside items will prevent them from becoming projectiles in the high winds of a tornado. This includes items like outdoor furniture, grills, garden tools, trash cans, or sports equipment.

To reinforce your home and improve its resiliency during severe storms, consider installing Storm Shutters (impact-resistant windows and reinforced garage doors). If you’re in the market for a new roof, be sure to ask about using the strongest fasteners available to protect against high winds. Assess your property and the trees or other large items in the yard. Remove or trim branches that could fall on your home or those that are close enough to break windows. These measures can protect your home from the damage of tornadoes rated on the low side of the Enhanced Fujita Scale (EF Scale). 

Create an Evacuation Plan so that your whole family knows what to do when a tornado warning is on for your area. Be sure every member of the family knows about the shelter or location and understands that it’s there for their protection. For those with young children, make a game out of going into the storm shelter at times when it’s not scary - a drill. This will prepare them for the real thing. Also, make yourself aware of your child’s emergency evacuation plans at school and make any accommodations necessary.

When the weather is bad, have multiple ways of receiving weather updates (TV, Radio, Wireless Emergency Alerts, Mobile App, Radar, Weather Radio, Friends/Family etc). Keep an eye out for Tornado Watches and Warnings and know the difference. Teach your kids the difference, too, especially if they're at an age where they may be home alone. Practicing tornado drills can be a good way to prepare your children so that when a tornado is imminent, they won’t panic, but instead, will follow the safety plan. It’s also a good idea to subscribe to a location-based warning system that tells you exactly when your home is in the area that requires sheltering. You can sign up for the AST Emergency Notification system with the following link: . This Wireless Emergency Alert system will send a message directly to your mobile device when a warning is issued in the location you input.

During the tornado

Once you’ve gotten to a safe place, it’s a bit of a waiting game. Staying calm is important, since that will help you think clearly. Take some deep breaths to reduce anxiety and keep your composure. If you are a parent, your calm demeanor will help your children stay calm. Reassure children that you are in the safest place you can be. 

Utilize your emergency preparedness kit if needed (for food, water, batteries, medicine etc.)

If you are away from your home tornado shelter, and seeking shelter in an interior room or basement, be sure to keep away from windows and exterior walls to avoid flying debris. You should also protect your head and neck with your arms, a heavy coat, or whatever is available.

After the tornado

Most times, the threat ends up being just that - a threat. You can come out of your shelter feeling good that you had a safe place to stay. You might need to call a few relatives to let them know you’re okay. 

However, if a tornado does actually touch down while you’re in shelter, there are a few things to do:

  • If you’ve sheltered in an interior room or certified storm shelter, before anything else, check everyone for injuries, and provide first aid or seek medical attention, as needed.

  • Before you leave your shelter, check with your local news, cell phone, emergency alert, weather radio, or your best judgement to make sure the threats have passed.

  • Once you’ve exited the shelter, you can begin to inspect for damage. Carefully check your property for hazards like gas leaks or structural damage. 

  • Avoid downed power lines. Observe them from afar and report them to the authorities. 

  • Contact your family and friends to let them know you are safe. They may have heard about the storm and will appreciate knowing your status.

  • Document the damage. For insurance purposes, take photos of any new damage to your property or home.

If needed, use local resources for assistance and support, or offer your support to others.

Safety Tips
Tick Safety
As summer approaches and outdoor activities continue to increase, it is important to familiarize yourselves with the dangers of a particularly active outdoor summer creatures, ticks.
Tips to avoid contact with ticks:
  • Avoid wooded and overgrown areas whenever possible as this is where ticks live and attach to things that pass through
  • Wear long sleeves with tight cuffs, and tuck your pant legs into your shoes and socks whenever you go into a wooded area
  • Treat your clothing with a 0.5% Permethrin product
  • Wear a FDA approved DEET bug repellant or for a natural option use a oil of lemon eucalyptus product to keep ticks from crawling on you
  • Whenever you are done with your outdoor activity check yourself and others for ticks in these common latch areas:
    • scalp/hair
    • around/in ear
    • armpits
    • waistband
    • concealed areas
    • back and knee
  • Shower within 2 hours of returning from your outdoor activity as this has potential to wash off any unattached ticks as well as reducing your potential for contracting lyme disease. This will also give you a good opportunity to check for ticks on your body
 Identifying Types of Ticks:
Contact Information

Levi Walker
Emergency Manager
P: 405.275.3200
Fax: 405.878.4535


2025 S Gordon Cooper Drive
Shawnee, OK 74801