Providing mutual aid in times of need

Power for Progress… a weekly column from the Grand River Dam Authority.

Helping hands in Houston … GRDA Police Officer Billy Blackwell guides a boat along a flooded road in the Houston area, while other GRDA officers and emergency personnel follow behind. The crew was there to lend a hand following Hurricane Harvey. In years past, GRDA personnel have also helped with restoration efforts following Hurricane Matthew in Florida and Hurricane Rita in Louisiana.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, the Grand River Dam Authority Police Department was just one of several Oklahoma agencies that sent personnel and equipment to the Houston area to assist with storm recovery and high water evacuation operations. GRDA officers made the trip along with firemen from the Locust Grove, Adair and Pryor fire departments in Mayes County.

It made sense that the crews would team up for the effort, since they have worked and trained together several times. Much of training has focused on swift water rescues and the knowledge gained there has been put into practice more than once here in Oklahoma.

Although sending water rescue boats to a hurricane site is a bit new for GRDA, the organization has responded to hurricane sites to provide assistance before. In fact, just last year – in October of 2016 — GRDA electric linemen traveled to Jacksonville, Florida, following Hurricane Matthew. That trip was in response to a nationwide call for mutual aid made, based on relationships already in place among the nation’s publicly-owned “public power” electric utilities.

Prior to that, GRDA linemen made a similar trip to Louisiana in September of 2005 to help restore power following the destruction left behind by Hurricane Rita. That too, was a response to mutual aid.

The key word in all of this is “mutual.” Whether it be GRDA Police Officers working alongside other emergency responders to perform water evacuations in the flooded neighborhoods of Houston, or GRDA linemen rebuilding downed powerlines along the east coast of Florida, GRDA is proud of the mutual effort our employees have given, alongside others in the wake of such natural disasters.

The training, expertise, dedication and cooperation they display during such times is another reason we are proud of Team GRDA.

Headquartered in Vinita, GRDA is Oklahoma’s state-owned electric utility; fully funded by revenues from electric and water sales instead of taxes. Each day, GRDA strives to be an “Oklahoma agency of excellence” by focusing on the 5 E’s: electricity, economic development, environmental stewardship, employees and efficiency.