The Pryor Times

January 11, 2013

Google gives gifts to fire departments

Staff Writer

— The Google Oklahoma Data Center in Mayes County gave a unique gift to five Oklahoma public service entities over the holidays. Google donated 30 spare water storage tanks to Mayes County, the City of Chouteau, Oklahoma State University Fire Training Facility, the City of Perkins Fire Department and the City of Pawnee Fire Department.

“We have fantastic public servants in Mayes County and all over the state,” Mike Wooten, Google data center operations manager, said. “We hope these water storage tanks will help make their jobs easier in emergency situations and provide an ongoing benefit for many Oklahomans.”

In August, Gov. Mary Fallin declared a State of Emergency as a number of wildfires raged across the state. Some of these tanks will go to very rural communities that do not have a water tower or a sufficient number of fire hydrants. Mayes County Emergency Manager John Janzen says communities such as Pensacola, will greatly benefit from this donation.

“To purchase these water tanks new, it would cost the County around $1.6 million,” Janzen said. “This is a wonderful donation, and we are extremely grateful that Google thought to let us reuse these tanks. It speaks to their company values, to be responsible to the environment and to the community.”

Besides storing water, Mayes County officials have come up with other creative ways to use the tanks. District 1 County Commissioner Alva Martin plans to use them as storm shelters for County and City workers and Fire Department personnel in Adair and Locust Grove. Janzen says it will be very inexpensive to alter the tanks and bury them in the ground to be used as shelters. Each would be able to hold approximately 20-25 people in an emergency situation.

OSU Fire Service Training received three tanks from Google and will use them to train state fire fighters at their facility west of Stillwater where they use actual fire in their training. Bryan West, facility manager, said the area does not have adequate water pressure to provide the type of training needed, so they will use the storage tanks and pump water to their fire trucks.

“The additional storage will be a great benefit to provide water for the rural area if the wildfire season continues,” West said.

The Chouteau Fire Department will use the tanks at their training facility for confined space training. This training helps firefighters learn and prepare to rescue victims trapped in small spaces.