News Column

Google Donates 30 Water Tanks to Oklahoma Communities

Jan 10, 2013

Rhett Morgan

The Google Oklahoma Data Center announced Wednesday that it has donated 30 spare water storage tanks to five public service agencies, including Mayes County emergency management and the Oklahoma State University Fire Training Facility.

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

Also receiving the tanks will be the city of Chouteau and the Perkins and Pawnee fire departments.

Gov. Mary Fallin declared a State of Emergency in August when wildfires across the state damaged nearly 680 homes and scorched about 114,000 acres.

Mayes County received 25 of the roughly 20,000-gallon tanks. Three went to Chouteau, where the Fire Department intends to use the containers at its training facility for confined space training, which helps firefighters learn how to rescue victims trapped in small spaces.

"We have a lot of the communities around the county wanting them, and the commissioners are going to try to make sure to get everybody one who wants one," said Johnny Janzen, Mayes County Emergency Management director.

The tanks would have cost the county about $1.6 million if they were new, Janzen said. Some of the public agencies plan to convert the tanks into storm shelters that could hold up to 25 people, he said.

"We have lots of different options here," Janzen said.

OSU Fire Service Training received three tanks from Google and will use them to train state firefighters at their facility west of Stillwater. Facility Manager Bryan West said that area does not have adequate water pressure to provide the type of training needed.

"The additional storage will be a great benefit to provide water for the rural area if the wildfire season continues," West said in a prepared statement.

Source: (c)2013 Tulsa World (Tulsa, Okla.). Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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