The Arkansas-Oklahoma Railroad Company is a family owned and operated Class III railroad serving customers along a 118-mile corridor between Howe, OK to McAlester, OK and Shawnee, OK to Midwest City, OK. The key commodities received are: wheat, corn, oats, CSM, feed ingredients, frack sand, ceramic proppant, auto’s, plastic resin pellets, drilling fluid products, hydrochloric acid, lumber, and hydro processing catalyst. The key commodities shipped are: coal, aggregate, and decorative stone. The A-OK provides storage car needs on short- and long-term basis to customers looking for convenient reliable service. Inspection, running repairs, cleaning, and stenciling services can be provided upon request. The A-OK currently has 23 storage car customers. The A-OK can accommodate unit pipe trains at Midwest City, OK, McAlester, OK and Wister, OK. The A-OK facilitates rail car leasing for a wide variety of car types upon request. The A-OK provides land and rail service for trans-loading upon request.

A-OK started working with the Oklahoma Small Business Development Center for disaster relief support during the pandemic and the severe weather in winter of 2021. After becoming familiar with the services offered, the OKSBDC continues to be a resource on business growth strategy, research assistance and management opportunities. The leaders of the railroad work with OKSBDC advisors and research team to pull statistics and data for key transportation upgrades, to learn ways to leverage federal, state and tribal workforce and financial programs. 

A-OK through the family leadership of the Donoley Family is an economic driver in Oklahoma. As leadership has transitioned to the next generation, the company continues to look forward to expansion and opportunities for partnership to grow the economy. The past 36 months have been challenging, initially due to COVID and severe winter weather which created chaos and physical damage; then the family dealt with a serious health crisis which was emotionally challenging. The leadership of this second generation kept the railroad moving forward. While shouldering more duties, this group recognizes the power of collaboration and is appreciative of the OKSBDC resources and support. 

Need help with your business?

No matter the size or stage of your business, the Oklahoma Small Business Development Center has the knowledge, tools and resources to help your Oklahoma business start, grow and succeed. We provide no-cost, confidential consulting to help Oklahoma’s businesses start, sustain, or expand.

Want to be one of our success stories? Click the button below to get started!

Request Advising

Hotel property owners and managers, Vik and Jenny Desai learned about OKSBDC small business advising services in 2019 with the goal of improving accounting. While these hotel owners were successful, they recognized the value of evaluation and assistance from an outside team. 

“…Then, 2020 hit, and the hospitality industry was crushed…” said Jenny Desai. The pair worked with OKSBDC throughout the pandemic for assistance navigating relief programs and for discussion on moving the business forward during difficult times. 

Jenny goes on, “After 2020/2021 settled down, we began meeting with Dana Hugle. We are a maturing company, and needed some guidance on HR best practices, growing a positive culture in our business, searching for the best insurance companies, and EIDL payback. We have relied on Dana and Ben Evans at OKSBDC to help guide us through this complicated process. It has been extremely helpful to have someone to ask questions to, someone who may have more access to higher levels of SBA, etc…” 

Advisors at OKSBDC assisted with HR and guest policy review. They also supported the business owners in discussions around employee training and retention. The hotel staff turnover rates have declined and the satisfaction rates have improved. 

Many small business owners are under the misconception that OKSBDC only works with start-up businesses; however, the business advisors address a number of issues from financial, to staffing, to marketing and much more. With a company that has a history of success in the industry, working with an OKSBDC advisor gives fresh perspective and the encouragement needed for the business owners to continue to move forward. 

Need help with your business?

No matter the size or stage of your business, the Oklahoma Small Business Development Center has the knowledge, tools and resources to help your Oklahoma business start, grow and succeed. We provide no-cost, confidential consulting to help Oklahoma’s businesses start, sustain, or expand.

Want to be one of our success stories? Click the button below to get started!

Request Advising

MacKenzie Russom had always wanted to start her own salon business, but could not figure out where to begin. Luckily, one of her clients told her about the services the Oklahoma Small Business Development Center provides, and how they could help her follow her dream and reach her goal. On the same day Russom found out about the Oklahoma SBDC, she booked an appointment with the Oklahoma SBDC and was paired with Nichole Tucker, who would help MacKenzie through the start-up process.

Eventually, Nichole was able to help MacKenzie with finding a building, hiring employees, and opening the business, all under 30 days. Not only that, but Nichole was able to help with the personal loan application process, the business plan, financials, marketing plan, and online system for clients to schedule appointments.

“I had the upmost professional, kind, helpful experience,” said MacKenzie. “Nichole was absolutely more than helpful. I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to work with.”

Need help with your business?

No matter the size or stage of your business, the Oklahoma Small Business Development Center has the knowledge, tools and resources to help your Oklahoma business start, grow and succeed. We provide no-cost, confidential consulting to help Oklahoma’s businesses start, sustain, or expand.

Want to be one of our success stories? Click the button below to get started!

Request Advising

Rebecca and Chris Britton knew exactly where to go for help when they started their business – the Oklahoma Small Business Development Center, getting in contact with Business Advisor Susan Urbach. The Britton’s industry experience helped them observe and find a niche market. Chris has longstanding experience in the warehousing and transportation logistics area, and Rebecca also has warehousing experience along with senior management experience in another company. Together, with help from the Oklahoma SBDC, they would create Endeavor Industries, LLC.

Endeavor Industries is an e-commerce fulfillment and Amazon FBA prep service located in west central Oklahoma City. E-commerce has been growing for years, and especially spiked during the time of the pandemic, and there will be a continued increase in e-commerce as time goes on. They have engaged other programs that deal exactly with local Oklahoma companies who are wanting to get into or expand on their e-commerce options. They anticipate other companies approaching Endeavor Industries, namely those that will find a central US location helpful in their e-commerce strategy.

“That was something we so appreciated,” said Rebecca Britton. “Getting a business loan is very different from a consumer loan.  We are grateful that we worked with the Oklahoma small Business Development Center and had that experience on our side.”

Need help with your business?

No matter the size or stage of your business, the Oklahoma Small Business Development Center has the knowledge, tools and resources to help your Oklahoma business start, grow and succeed. We provide no-cost, confidential consulting to help Oklahoma’s businesses start, sustain, or expand.

Want to be one of our success stories? Click the button below to get started!

Request Advising

Eastern Oklahoma State College

The Oklahoma SBDC at Eastern Oklahoma State College provides entrepreneurs with professional business consulting at no cost, management training, and vital information they need to grow and succeed in a complex and competitive global environment.

Eastern Oklahoma State University Logo
1301 W. Main Street
Choctaw Hall Rm: 132
Wilburton, OK 74578

Personal Safety

Take care of yourself first

You have just been through a disaster that has turned your life upside down. A disaster can do damage beyond the obvious physical destruction. The hidden enemy could be emotional stress and anxiety. Stay calm and collected and remember that cooler heads will prevail in times of adversity. The Red Cross and FEMA suggest the following steps you can make to relieve any tensions or stress:

  • Discuss and communicate your problems
  • Rest often and eat well
  • Set a manageable schedule
  • Watch for signs of stress
  • Seek help if you cannot shake feelings of anxiety or stress

Stay healthy

The damage to your business or property from a disaster can cause various potential dangers to your health. The building’s foundation could have become weakened, the electrical system may have shorted out and flooding or rain may have left behind things that can make you very sick. For these reasons, you should avoid the cleanup unless you know what you are doing or until you know it is safe to do so.

FEMA and the Red Cross suggest that infants, pregnant women and people with health problems should avoid the damaged or flooded property until cleanup is complete. In addition, confirm that the water is safe at your property before you drink it or wash anything with it.

The following are some recommended procedures from the Department of Labor to keep you safe and healthy if you attempt cleanup efforts yourself:

Health tips

  • Take frequent rest breaks when lifting heavy objects. Avoid overexertion, and practice good lifting techniques. To help prevent injury, use teams of two or more to move bulky objects; avoid lifting any materials that weigh more than 50 pounds per person, and use proper automated lifting assistance devices if practical.
  • When working in hot environments, have plenty of drinking water available, use sunscreen and take frequent rest breaks. Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • Be sure a first-aid kit is available to disinfect any cuts or abrasions. Protect open cuts and abrasions with waterproof gloves or dressings.
  • Wash your hands often during the day, especially before eating, drinking or applying cosmetics.

General precautions

  • Use a wooden stick or pole to check flooded areas for pits, holes and protruding objects before entering.
  • Ensure that all ladders and scaffolds are properly secured prior to use.
  • Conduct a preliminary worksite inspection to verify stability before entering a flooded or formerly flooded building or before operating vehicles over roadways or surfaces. Don’t work in or around any flood-damaged building until it has been examined and certified as safe for work by a registered professional engineer or architect.
  • Washouts, trenches, excavations and gullies must be supported or their stability verified prior to worker entry. All trenches should be supported (e.g., with a trench box). If no support is available, the trench must be sloped at no less than a 1:1 (45°) angle for cohesive soil and 1:1½ (34°) angle for granular soils including gravel, sand and loamy sand or submerged soil or soil from which water is freely seeping.
  • Establish a plan for contacting medical personnel in the event of an emergency.
  • Report any obvious hazards (downed power lines, frayed electric wires, gas leaks or snakes) to appropriate authorities.
  • Use fuel-powered generators outdoors. Do not bring them indoors. Use life-vests when engaged in activities that could result in deep water exposure.
  • Use extreme caution when handling containers holding unknown substances or known toxic substances (for example floating containers of household or industrial chemicals). Contact the Environmental Protection Agency for information on disposal at the National Response Center (1-800-424-8802).
  • Do NOT use improvised surfaces (e.g., refrigerator racks) for cooking food or for boiling water to avoid exposure to heavy metals.

Clothing and personal protective equipment

  • Always wear water tight boots with steel toes and insoles, gloves, long pants and safety glasses during cleanup operations; sneakers should NOT be worn because they will not prevent punctures, bites or crush injuries. Wear a hardhat if there is any danger of falling debris.
  • Wear a NIOSH-approved dust respirator if working with moldy building materials or vegetable matter (hay, stored grain or compost).
  • When handling bleach or other chemicals, follow the directions on the package; wear eye, hand and face protection as appropriate, and have plenty of clean water available for eye wash and other first-aid treatments.

Electrical hazards

  • Do NOT touch downed power lines or any object or water that is in contact with such lines.
  • Treat all power lines as energized until you are certain that the lines have been de-energized.
  • Beware of overhead and underground lines when clearing debris. Extreme caution is necessary when moving ladders and other equipment near overhead power lines to avoid inadvertent contact.
  • If damage to an electrical system is suspected (for example, if the wiring has been under water, you can smell burning insulation, wires are visibly frayed or you see sparks), turn off the electrical system in the building and follow lockout/tagout procedures before beginning work. Do not turn the power back on until electrical equipment has been inspected by a qualified electrician.
  • When using a generator, be sure that the main circuit breaker is OFF and locked out prior to starting the generator. This will prevent inadvertent energization of power lines from backfeed electrical energy from generators and help protect utility line workers from possible electrocution.
  • Be aware that de-energized power lines may become energized by a secondary power source such as a portable backup generator.
  • Any electrical equipment, including extension cords, used in wet environments must be marked, as appropriate, for use in wet locations and must be undamaged. Be sure that all connections are out of water.
  • All cord-connected, electrically operated tools and equipment must be grounded or double insulated.
  • Ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) must be used in all wet locations. Portable GFCIs can be purchased at hardware stores.

Fire protection

  • Immediately evacuate any building that has a gas leak until the leak is controlled and the area ventilated.
  • Be sure an adequate number of fire extinguishers are available and re-evaluate the fire evacuation plan.
  • Be sure all fire exits are clear of debris and sand bags.

SBA Disaster Services

What Types of Disaster Loans are Available?
  • Home Disaster Loans – Loans to homeowners or renters to repair or replace disaster-damaged real estate or personal property owned by the victim. Renters are eligible for their personal property losses, including automobiles.
  • Business Physical Disaster Loans – Loans to businesses to repair or replace disaster-damaged property owned by the business, including real estate, inventories, supplies, machinery and equipment. Businesses of any size are eligible. Private, non-profit organizations such as charities, churches, private universities, etc., are also eligible.
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) – Working capital loans to help small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private, non-profit organizations of all sizes meet their ordinary and necessary financial obligations that cannot be met as a direct result of the disaster. These loans are intended to assist through the disaster recovery period.
  • EIDL assistance is available only to entities and their owners who cannot provide for their own recovery from non-government sources, as determined by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
What are the Credit Requirements?
  • Credit History – Applicants must have a credit history acceptable to SBA.
  • Repayment – Applicants must show the ability to repay all loans.
  • Collateral – Collateral is required for physical loss loans over $14,000 and all EIDL loans over $5,000. SBA takes real estate as collateral when it is available. SBA will not decline a loan for lack of collateral, but requires you to pledge what is available.
What are the Interest Rates?

By law, the interest rates depend on whether each applicant has Credit Available Elsewhere. An applicant does not have Credit Available Elsewhere when SBA determines the applicant does not have sufficient funds or other resources, or the ability to borrow from non-government sources, to provide for its own disaster recovery. An applicant, which SBA determines to have the ability to provide for his or her own recovery is deemed to have Credit Available Elsewhere. Interest rates are fixed for the term of the loan. The interest rates applicable for this disaster are:

No Credit Available elsewhere Credit Available elsewhere
Home Loans 1.875% 3.750%
Business Loans 4.000% 6.000%
Non-Profit Organization Loans 2.875% 2.875%
Economic Injury Loans
Business and Small Agric. Cooperatives 4.000% N/A
Non-Profit Organizations 2.875% N/A
What are Loan Terms?

The law authorizes loan terms up to a maximum of 30 years. However, the law restricts businesses with credit available elsewhere to a maximum 7-year term. SBA sets the installment payment amount and corresponding maturity based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.

What are the Loan Amount Limits?
  • Home Loans – SBA regulations limit home loans to $200,000 for the repair or replacement of real estate and $40,000 to repair or replace personal property. Subject to these maximums, loan amounts cannot exceed the verified uninsured disaster loss.
  • Business Loans – The law limits business loans to $2,000,000 for the repair or replacement of real estate, inventories, machinery, equipment and all other physical losses. Subject to this maximum, loan amounts cannot exceed the verified uninsured disaster loss.
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) – The law limits EIDL(s) to $2,000,000 for alleviating economic injury caused by the disaster. The actual amount of each loan is limited to the economic injury determined by SBA, less business interruption insurance and other recoveries up to the administrative lending limit. SBA also considers potential contributions that are available from the business and/or its owner(s) or affiliates.
  • Business Loan Ceiling – The $2,000,000 statutory limit for business loans applies to the combination of physical, economic injury, mitigation and refinancing, and applies to all disaster loans to a business and its affiliates for each disaster. If a business is a major source of employment, SBA has the authority to waive the $2,000,000 statutory limit.
What Restrictions are there on Loan Eligibility?
  • Uninsured Losses – Only uninsured or otherwise uncompensated disaster losses are eligible. Any insurance proceeds which are required to be applied against outstanding mortgages are not available to fund disaster repairs and do not reduce loan eligibility. However, any insurance proceeds voluntarily applied to any outstanding mortgages do reduce loan eligibility.
  • Ineligible Property – Secondary homes, personal pleasure boats, airplanes, recreational vehicles and similar property are not eligible, unless used for business purposes. Property such as antiques and collections are eligible only to the extent of their functional value. Amounts for landscaping, swimming pools, etc., are limited.
  • Noncompliance – Applicants who have not complied with the terms of previous SBA loans are not eligible. This includes borrowers who did not maintain flood and/or hazard insurance on previous SBA or Federally insured loans.
Is There Help with Funding Mitigation Improvements?

If your loan application is approved, you may be eligible for additional funds to cover the cost of improvements that will protect your property against future damage. Examples of improvements include retaining walls, seawalls, sump pumps, etc. Mitigation loan money would be in addition to the amount of the approved loan, but may not exceed 20 percent of total amount of disaster damage to real estate and/or leasehold improvements, as verified by SBA to a maximum of $200,000 for home loans. It is not necessary for the description of improvements and cost estimates to be submitted with the application. SBA approval of the mitigating measures will be required before any loan increase.

Is There Help Available for Refinancing?
  • SBA can refinance all or part of prior mortgages that are evidenced by a recorded lien, when the applicant (1) does not have credit available elsewhere, (2) has suffered substantial uncompensated disaster damage (40 percent or more of the value of the property), and (3) intends to repair the damage.
  • Homes – Homeowners may be eligible for the refinancing of existing liens or mortgages on homes, in some cases up to the amount of the loan for real estate repair or replacement.
  • Businesses – Business owners may be eligible for the refinancing of existing mortgages or liens on real estate, machinery and equipment, in some cases up to the amount of the loan for the repair or replacement of real estate, machinery, and equipment.
What if I Decide to Relocate?

You may use your SBA disaster loan to relocate. The amount of the relocation loan depends on whether you relocate voluntarily or involuntarily. If you are interested in relocation, an SBA representative can provide you with more details on your specific situation.

Are There Insurance Requirements for Loans?

To protect each borrower and the Agency, SBA may require you to obtain and maintain appropriate insurance. By law, borrowers whose damaged or collateral property is located in a special flood hazard area must purchase and maintain flood insurance for the full insurable value of the property for the life of the loan.

What information must I submit for a disaster loan?

Submit a completed loan application and a signed and dated IRS form 8821 giving permission for the IRS to provide the SBA your tax return information. To process your application, the SBA needs current financial information such as a personal financial statement, a current profit-and-loss statement, balance sheet and a list of debts.

Can I use the disaster loan to expand my business?

The disaster loan helps restore property to pre-disaster condition and, under certain circumstances, protects the structure from future disasters. It cannot upgrade or expand a business unless required by local building codes.

I already have a mortgage on my business. Can the SBA refinance my mortgage?

The SBA can refinance all or part of a previous mortgage in some cases when the applicant does not have credit available elsewhere, has suffered uninsured damage (40 percent or more of the property value) and intends to repair the damage. SBA disaster loan officers can provide additional details.

How soon before I know I’ve been approved for a loan?

The sooner you return the completed loan application, the sooner the SBA can process it. The SBA tries to make a decision within 18 days. Make sure the application is complete. Missing information is a major cause of delays.

Is collateral required for these loans?

Physical loss loans of more than $14,000 and all EIDL loans of more than $5,000 must be secured to the extent possible. SBA will not decline a loan if there isn’t enough collateral but requires you to pledge what is available. That usually consists of a first or second mortgage on the damaged business real estate or best available if you don’t have real estate.

Should I wait for my insurance settlement before I file my loan application?

No. Don’t miss the filing deadline by waiting for an insurance settlement. Final insurance information can be added when a settlement is made. The SBA can approve a loan for the total replacement cost, but any insurance proceeds that duplicate SBA’s loan must be applied to your SBA loan.

How may I use an Economic Injury Disaster Loan?

The loan provides working capital for disaster-related needs until your business or private, non-profit organization recovers. You may request an EIDL for the amount of economic injury but not in excess of what your business or private, non-profit organization could have paid if the disaster had not occurred. EIDL loans cannot refinance long-term debts or provide working capital needed before the disaster. EIDL loans do not replace sales or lost profits.

Must I submit a personal financial statement with my loan application?

Yes. The SBA must review a financial statement for each owner and one for each partner, officer, director and stockholder with 20 percent or more ownership. The SBA requires the principals of the business to personally guarantee repayment of the loan and in some instances to secure the loan by pledging additional collateral.

Are there consequences for misuse of the loan proceeds?

Yes. The penalty for misusing disaster funds is immediate repayment of one-and-a-half times the original amount of the loan.

Is there a minimum monthly payment? When is the first payment due?

The SBA does not have a minimum monthly payment. Payments vary depending upon income and expenses, size of family and other circumstances that may affect your repayment ability. Generally, the first payment is not due until five months after the date of the loan, but this term may be extended to a year in most cases upon request.

Where can I get more information about SBA loans?

For more information, contact SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center by calling (800) 659-2955, emailing, or visiting SBA’s web site at Hearing impaired individuals may call (800) 877-8339. Applicants may also apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure Web site at

Disaster Relief Contacts

General disaster resources


Legal help

  • LawHelp: helps low and moderate income people find free legal aid programs in their communities and answers to questions about their legal rights. Find information for free legal aid or pro bono legal assistance in all 50 states plus US territories.
  • Find legal resources in your state. Maintained by the American Bar Association.


Federal contact information

FEMA (Disaster Assistance) 1-800-621-3362
(TTY line) 1-800-462-7585
United States Citizenship & Immigration Services 1-800-375-5283
(TTY line) 1-800-767-1833
United States Internal Revenue Service 1-800-829-1040
United States Social Security Administration 1-800-772-1213
(TTY line) 1-800-325-0778
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 1-800-CDC-INFO;

FEMA disaster recovery centers in Missouri by county:
Little Axe Elementary School
2000 168th Ave
Norman, OK 73026


State Contact Information

Oklahomas Attorney General’s Office:(OKC) 405-521-3921
Oklahomas Attorney General’s Office:(Tulsa) 918-581-2885
OK Insurance Department:(OKC) 405-521.2828
OK Insurance Department:(Tulsa) 918-295-3700
Oklahoma Department of Human Services: 405-521-3646
Oklahoma Natrual Resource Conservation: 580-237-4321
Oklahoma Employment Security Commision: 405-557-7100
CompSource Oklahoma: 405-232-7663
Oklahoma Department of Labor:(OKC) 405-521-6100
Oklahoma Department of Labor:(Tulsa) 918-581-2400
Oklahoma Department of Health: 405-522-0726
Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services: 405-522-3908(Local)
Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services: 800-522-9054 (Toll Free)

Oklahoma Small Business Development Centers– 580-745-2877


Insurance Company Contact Information

The following table is a list of common commercial insurance carriers. If your insurance carrier is not listed, please refer to your policy or your contact information or visit the Insurance Information Institute to locate contact information for your insurance carrier

Insurance CompanyWebsite UrlContact Number
CNA http://www.cna.com877-262-2727
The Hartford Financial Grouphttp://www.thehartford.com800-327-3636
MetLife Auto & Home
Westfield Grouphttp://www.westfieldinsurance.com866-937-2663
Utica National Insurance Group http://www.uticanational.com800-216-1420
ACE USAhttp://www.acelimited.com800-433-0385
Ironshore Insurance Ltd.http://www.ironshore.com877-476-6411
Harleysville Insurancehttp://www.harleysville.com800-892-8877
The Hanover Insurance Group, Inc.http://www.hanover.com800-628-0250
Aegis Insurance Services Inc. http://www.aegislink.com201-508.2740
Allstate Insurance Group
Century Surety Companyhttp://www.centurysurety.com800-825-9489
W. R. Berkley Corporationhttp://www.wrberkley.comContact Agent
Liberty Mutual Grouphttp://www.libertymutual.com800-225-2467
Magna Carter Companieshttp://www.mcarta.comContact Agent
Farmers Group, Inc.
OneBeacon Insurance Group http://www.onebeacon.com877-248-3455
Allianz of America, Inc.http://www.allianz.com1-866-884-3556
CUNA Mutual Grouphttp://www.cunamutual.com800-356-2644
Kemperhttp://www.kemper. com866-536-7376
Safeco Corporationhttp://www.safeco.com800-332-3226
James River Group, Inc.http://www.james-river-group.comContact Agent
Selective Insurance Group http://www.selectiveinsurance.com866-455-9969
Zurich North America http://www.zurichna.com800-987-3373
GuideOne Insurancehttp://www.guideone.com888-748-4326
Alea Group http://www.aleagroup.com860-513-4180
The Sullivan Group http://www.gjs.comContact Agent
State Farm
Chubb Group Of Insurance Companies http://www.chubb.com800-252-4670


Oklahoma Offices of Emergency Management

Name of Emergency ManagementAddressContact Number
Adair County Emergency Mgmt600 Meade Drive Stilwell OK 74960918-696-4255
Alfalfa County Emergency Mgmt300 S. Grand Cherokee OK 73728580-596-2392
Atoka Co. Emergency Mgmt200 East Court St Suite Atoka OK 74525580-364-0309
Beaver Co Emergency MgmtP.O. Box 786 Beaver OK 73932580-625-3498
Beckham Co Emergency MgmtP.O. Box 67 Sayre OK 73662580-928-9264
Blaine County Emergency Mgmt P.O. Box 138 Watonga OK 73772580-623-8566
Bryan Co/Durant Emergency Mgmt2808 Enterprise Dr Durant OK 74701580-924-3661
Caddo Co Emergency MgmtP.O. Box 1427 Anadarko OK 73005405-933-1600
Canadian Co Emergency Mgmt 201 N. Choctaw El Reno OK 73036405-295-6186
Carter Co Emergency Mgmt 107 SW 1st Street, Anne Ardmore OK 73401580-223-7937
Cherokee Co./Tahlequah EM111 S. Cherokee Tahlequah OK 74464 918-456-2894
Choctaw Co Emergency Mgmt 300 East Duke Hugo OK 74743580-326-2000
Cleveland Co Emergency Mgmt201 S. Jones Norman OK 73069405-366-0249
Coal County Emergency Mgmt 3 S. Main Coalgate OK 74538580-927-9008
Comanche Co Emergency Mgmt315 SW 5th Rm 107 Lawton OK 73501580-355-0535
Cotton County Emergency Mgmt301 North Broadway Walters OK 73572580-875-3031
Craig Co Emergency Mgmt210 W Delaware Suite 1 Vinita OK 74301918-244-1452
Creek County Emergency Mgmt317 E. Lee Sapulpa OK 74066918-227-6365
Custer Co Emergency MgmtP.O. Box 300 Arapaho OK 73620580-323-4105
Dewey Co Emergency MgmtPO Box 368 Taloga OK 73667580-328-5580
Ellis Co. Emergency Mgmt. P.O. Box 283 Arnett OK 73832580-334-0275
Garfield Co/Enid Emergency Mgmt 410 W Garriott Enid OK 73701580-249-5969
Garvin County Emergency MgmtP.O. Box 237 Pauls Valley OK 73075405-238-1148
Grady Co Emergency Mgmt P.O. Box 339 Chickasha OK 73023405-222-2339
Grant County Emergency Mgmt 112 E. Guthrie Medford OK 73759580-395-2214
Greer Co/Mangum EmergencyP.O. Box 263 Mangum OK 73554580-782-3254
Harmon County Emg. Mgmt.221 East Lincoln Hollis OK 73550 800-477-0262
Harper Co/Laverne EmergencyP.O. Box 369 Buffalo OK 7383480-735-2030
Haskell County Emergency Mgmt202 East Main Stigler OK 74462918-967-4488
Hughes County Emergency Mgmt200 N. Broadway Holdenville OK 74848405-379-7740
Jackson Co Emergency Mgmt101 N. Main Rm 101 Altus OK 73521580-482-0229
Jefferson Co Emergency Mgmt220 N. Main St Waurika OK 73573580-228-2341
Johnston Co Emergency Mgmt 604 E 24th Tishomingo OK 73460580-371-0174
Kay County Emergency MgmtPO Box 450 Newkirk OK 74647580-362-3825
Kingfisher Co/City EmergencyP.O. Box 525 Kingfisher OK 73750405-375-5662
Kiowa County Emergency Mgmt 316 S Main Hobart OK 73651580-726-3377
Latimer County/Wilburton EM104 W Ada Wilburton OK 74578918-465-3582
Leflore Co Emergency Mgmt1215 S. Broadway Poteau OK 74953918-649-0530
Lincoln Co Emergency Mgmt811 Manvel Suite 4 Chandler OK 74834405-258-1285
Logan Co/Guthrie Emergency312 E. Harrison, Suite 1 Guthrie OK 73044 405-282-0494
Love Co/Marietta Emergency Mgm101 W Main Marietta OK 73448580-276-5861
Major County Emergency Mgmt.500 East Broadway Fairview OK 73737580-227-3126
Marshall County/Madill EM201 E. Overton Madill OK 73446 580-795-2577
Mayes County Emergency Mgmt1 Court Pl Suite 140 Pryor OK 74361918-825-4650
McClain Co Emergency MgmtP.O. Box 548 New Castle OK 73065405-288-2064
McCurtain Co. Emergency Mgmt827 E Lincoln Rd Idabel OK 74745580-208-2604
McIntosh Co/EufaulaP.O. Box 722 Eufaula OK 74432918-689-3441
Murray Co Emergency Mgmt.P.O. Box 1-N Dougherty OK 73032
Muskogee County EmergencyP.O. Box 2274 Muskogee OK 74402918-682-2551
Noble Co Emergency MgmtP.O. Box 1 Perry OK 73077580-370-5676
Nowata Co. Emergency Mgmt229 N. Maple Nowata OK 74048918-273-2287
Okfuskee Co Emergency MgmtP.O. Box 108 Okemah OK 74859918-623-9289
Oklahoma Co Emergency Mgmt320 Robert S. Kerr, Suit Oklahoma City OK 73102405-713-1369
Okmulgee Co EM110 N. Alabama Ave. Okmulgee OK 74447918-759-9984
Osage Co Emergency Mgmt 125 E 6th St Pawhuska OK 74056918-287-2285
Ottawa County Emergency Mgmt123 East Central Suite 1 Miami OK 74354918-541-9391
Pawnee County Emergency1305 W. Peninsula Dr. Cleveland OK 74020918-243-7142
Payne Co. Emergency Mgmt 315 W. 6th Ave, Suite 2 Stillwater OK 74074405-533-6875
Pittsburg Co/McAlester EM1210 N. West Street McAlester OK 74501918-423-5655
Pontotoc County Emergency Mgmt P.O. Box 1425 Ada OK 74820580-436-8055
Pottawatomie Co/ Shawnee EMP.O. Box 1448 Shawnee OK 74802405-878-1678
Pushmataha Antlers Emergency100 SE 2nd Antlers OK 74523580-271-2170
Roger Mills CountyP.O. Box 708 Cheyenne OK 73628580-497-3522
Rogers Co Emergency Mgmt219 S. Missouri B-113 Claremore OK 74017
Seminole Co Emergency Mgmt110 S Wewoka Ave, Sui Wewoka OK 74884405-257-5445
Sequoyah Co Emergency Mgmt117 S. Oak Sallisaw OK 74955-918-775-1216
Stephens Co/Duncan Emergency101 South 11th Street Duncan OK 73533580-255-3411
Texas County Emergency MgmtP.O. Box 197 Guymon OK 73942580-651-705
Tillman County Emergency MgmtP.O. Box 992 Frederick OK 73542580-335-7549
Tulsa City/Co Area600 Civic Center, EOC Tulsa OK 74103918-596-9898
Wagoner Co Emergency Mgmt 16555 S 305th E Ave Coweta OK 74429918-521-4007
Washington Co/Bartlesville3931 SE Adams Rd Bartlesville OK 74005918-331-2710
Washita Co Emergency Mgmt125 W. Main Cordell OK 73632 580-832-3356
Woodward County/City1219 8th Street Woodward OK 73801405-466-5356

Contract Delivery

Business continuity

The Center for Organizational Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay examined what sets apart small businesses that recover from those that fail after being affected by a disaster. The research report, written by Daniel J. Alesch, James N. Holly, Elliott Mittler and Robert Nagy, looks at the factors and variables that interact in complex ways to affect small business recovery. Five variables were found to be critical to long-term survival of an organization after a natural disaster:

  • The disaster’s impact on the organization’s clientele. If the organization’s clientele is displaced from the area following the disaster, it is much more difficult for the organization to survive, because it will have to completely rebuild its client base.
  • The availability of convenient substitute goods or services. If substitute goods or services are easily available while the organization is shut down after a natural disaster, it will be more difficult for the organization to maintain its client base.
  • Pre-disaster major trends in the organization’s industry and the individual organization’s position in relation to those trends. If the organization is in a declining industry, it is less likely to recover, especially if the organization’s business is already declining.
  • The extent of financial resources lost by the organization. The fewer financial resources the organization has to rebuild, relocate or take other appropriate action, the less likely it is to survive.
  • The owner/operators ability to adapt to the new business environment. If the owner/operator is unable to appreciate the change in the business environment and make the necessary changes, the organization is less likely to survive.

Reacting to a natural disaster or emergency not only means ensuring the immediate safety of employees, but also planning how the business will continue to function in the aftermath. Limiting the amount of time your business is closed after an emergency situation is crucial; according to a 2006 survey by Harris Interactive, about 51 percent of companies said their customers would tolerate only a few hours of unplanned down time.

After you’ve made plans to ensure the safety of your employees, the following advice can help keep your business operating and meeting your customer’s needs in the wake of a disaster.


Getting organized

Contact all employees to provide them with a status report and assign tasks. As needed, appoint liaisons from your office to work with each of the following entities:

  • Building management
  • Health department
  • Emergency management agencies
  • Other governmental agencies
  • Utility companies, including electric, gas, water, phone
  • Insurance agent
  • Banker
  • Key vendors
  • Post office
  • Other vital services

Contact vendors/suppliers to confirm their emergency response plan procedures. Establish a succession of management for the company. Determine who will manage the company if key leaders are unavailable. Communication is the key to maintaining clients and customers. Let your customers/vendors know your company’s status and when your business will assume normal operations. Be prepared to use alternate vendors for essential supplies and equipment depending on how much they were impacted by the disaster.

If your property is safe to enter, gather up all available paper records and begin the process of assessing damage, sorting and prioritizing restoration. Paper records damaged by water will begin to deteriorate within two to three hours; mold, fungal and bacterial growth will occur within 24 hours. Specific procedures must be followed in order to properly dry or freeze documents. (Freezing will preserve paper for up to six years for later drying.) If necessary, access extra checks stored off-site. Contact your bank for replacement checks.

Establish an emergency communication system to help your business communicate with employees, customers and vendors. This could involve setting up an emergency hotline and recorded message or arranging for a forwarding number. Keep in mind that after a disaster, it is often easier to make outgoing calls than to receive incoming ones. Therefore, it may be necessary to designate a contact outside the disaster zone who can act as a clearinghouse for information.

Post updates on social media sites, your business’s website and any other resources to communicate with your business network.


Alternative location

Determine alternate locations for your business to operate if you are displaced from your current building. This could mean enabling employees to work from home or finding an alternate location for your office. Depending on the size and location of your business, possibilities include hotels, motels, trailers, recreational vehicles, mobile food carts, space in other companies or firms with which you are associated, space in a satellite office, other suitable space in your existing building or space in your home.

If necessary, contact the post office about an alternate delivery location. Post a sign at your old location directing people to your temporary location. Consider advertising that temporary location in the local newspaper, and encourage customers to contact you to touch base. Be sure that anyone answering the phone informs all callers of your new location. Communicate all news and changes to your business on your website and social media.



If necessary, contact vendors to lease equipment or permanently replace damaged items (computers, network servers, printers, fax machines, copier, postage meter, desks, chairs, etc.). If your computers have been damaged from the disaster, get professional assistance to help in the recovery and repair of your computer system. Make it clear that your top priority is the data, not the equipment itself. A reputable repair shop can clean and test the system and, if necessary, use a package such as Norton Utilities to recover your data. More likely than not, the data stored on the hard drive can be recovered.


Contracts FAQ

If my business was physically destroyed or damaged by the disaster, do my contracts for goods and services need to be performed?
It depends. A party will be relieved from its obligation to supply goods or perform services if, without the party’s fault, performance of the contract has become impossible. However, the impossibility must be “objective” in the sense that no one can perform the contract. For example, a contract to clean a house that was destroyed would be impossible to perform. If reasonable alternative means for performance of the contract are available, impossibility likely will not apply. However, other legal doctrines, as described below, may apply.

My business has not incurred damage; however, my business has deteriorated substantially after the disaster. Do my contracts for goods and services need to be performed?
Yes. Typically, impossibility excuses a party’s performance only when the destruction of the subject matter of the contract or the means of performance renders performance impossible. In addition, a party may be excused from performing its contractual obligations if performance is found to be impracticable. If a party has other ways to perform the obligations and only one option is precluded, that is not generally considered impracticable, even if the remaining option is more burdensome or more expensive.

Does a “force majeure” clause in a contract that my business has with another party automatically relieve the other party of its liability under the contract?
No. A “force majeure” clause is a provision in a contract that excuses a party to the contract from performing because of the occurrence of an event beyond the party’s control. The other party may or may not be liable depending on the provisions of the force majeure clause. A party may excuse itself from liability under a force majeure clause only by showing that the event preventing its performance was contemplated by the force majeure clause.

A force majeure clause may be drafted broadly (to include a few events such as an “act of war” and a catch-all phrase such as “or other events beyond its control” or “unavoidable causes”) or more narrowly (listing the specific events that prevent performance and including only a narrow catch-all). Even if the contract does not contain a force majeure clause, or if the clause is not broad enough to include the events surrounding the disaster, it is possible that a contract will not be enforced due to “impossibility” and related doctrines discussed above.

If the business owner or key employee is incapacitated, does the business still need to perform contracts of personal service?
No. If the primary purpose of a personal services contract is to permit a specified person to perform in a certain manner, there is an implied intent by the parties to hold each other liable only if the health and life of that person permits continued performance. To be covered under this general rule, the act or acts to be performed must be ones that can be performed only by the particular individual named in the contract.

What happens to advances received from third parties (or given to third parties) where the performance of the contract is excused?
If goods or services are not supplied, advances must be returned.

What if I can no longer deliver or accept goods under my contracts? Can someone else perform on my behalf?
Absent a provision in the contract prohibiting assignment, a party may be able to delegate or assign its duties or rights under a contract to someone else unless the other party has a substantial interest in having the original promisor perform the acts required by the contract. The rights of the buyer or seller also may be assigned unless the assignment would significantly change the duty of the other party, increase the burden or risk imposed on him by the contract or significantly impair the chance of obtaining return performance. Parties delegating or assigning duties will still be liable under the original contract. Many commercial contracts provide that duties of the buyer and seller cannot be delegated or assigned without the prior written consent of the other party.


Liability for damaged property

What if goods that were paid for by the buyer were destroyed before they could be delivered?
In the absence of an agreement to the contrary, risk of loss of goods subject to sale passes in the following manner: (1) if a contract requires physical delivery of identified goods to a specific destination, title passes on tender of the goods at that destination; (2) if the contract does not specify a place of delivery, title passes at the time and place of shipment; (3) if delivery is to be made without moving the goods, title passes at the time and place documents of title are to be delivered; and (4) if no documents of title are delivered, title passes at the time and place of contract. An insurance policy may cover damage to or destruction of the goods.

If I have equipment that was either leased or purchased on credit and is now destroyed or damaged, am I obligated to continue making payments on the equipment?
This question is usually governed by the terms of the specific contract, lease or credit agreement. In addition, the loss of equipment could be covered by an insurance policy. If the equipment was not covered by an insurance policy, most likely payments must continue to be made.

Is my business liable for damage to a customer’s property caused by the disaster, flooding or looting? Is my dry cleaner or laundry business liable for damage to customers’ clothing that was in the store? Is my jewelry/TV/watch repair store liable for damages to customers’ property that was in the store for purposes of repair or maintenance?
Probably not. When the owner of personal property (a bailor) delivers the property to another (a bailee) for a particular purpose, with the understanding that the property must be returned to the owner, a bailment contract is formed. In each of the three situations above, a bailment relationship exists for benefit of both parties because the bailee receives compensation and the bailor receives a service. Therefore, the bailee would only be liable to the bailor for property damaged through the bailee’s negligence. Because the relevant legal standard is the bailee’s negligence, it is necessary to consider how the property was damaged or lost and what actions the bailee took to protect it.

Destruction caused by the disaster or looting would not likely be a breach of the bailment contract. However, the other jewelry stores carried customer merchandise out of the store and one jeweler did not, then that jeweler may be deemed negligent. In addition, if all dry cleaners except one locked the door when evacuating, that dry cleaner may be deemed negligent if a customer’s clothes were stolen.


Lost checks or correspondence

If, for example, my insurance payment premium was due on April 30 and the payment was sent on April 27, would the policy cover damages that occurred on August 29, even if the payment was not received on the actual due date or was destroyed in the mail?
The posting rule (or “mailbox rule” in the U.S., or “postal rule” or “deposited acceptance rule”) is an exception to the general rule of contract law in common law countries that acceptance takes place when communicated. The posting rule states, by contrast, that acceptance takes effect when a letter is posted. One rationale given for the rule is that the offeror nominates the post office as implied agent and thus receipt of the acceptance by the post office is regarded as that of the offeree. The “mailbox rule” or “postal acceptance rule” described above also applies to insurance premiums. Assuming that the insurance company requested that the premium be mailed and the premium payment was mailed in a timely manner, the insurance company is obligated to defend and indemnify the insured party.

What if a check was mailed but it was not received?
There are different alternatives depending on the type of check that was lost:
Checks payable from debtor’s account: A bank customer has a right to stop payment of any item, including a check, drawn on that customer’s account. After the stop payment is made, the debtor may issue a new check without bearing the risk of loss should the bank fail to stop the original check.
Certified checks: Since certified checks are drawn by the bank, the bank is not required to stop payment on lost or destroyed checks and issue replacements unless an indemnity bond of twice the unpaid amount is posted. This serves to protect banks from potential double liability, should a holder of the lost check later present it for payment.

My business has a city contract on which we have performed, but payment on vouchers has been delayed due to the disaster. What action can I take to expedite processing and payment?
Many cities may experience delays in making various contract payments due to the effects of the disaster, a situation that has been impaired by the reallocation of resources. The first step is to try and contact your contract manager who should have the most current information about the agency’s operations. If you cannot locate the contract manager or if he or she lacks information, you can contact the city government. If payment is still not forthcoming, you may be able to file a notice of dispute, depending on the procedures of the city government. You likely will need to continue to supply services during adjudication of any disputes or you will be considered in breach of contract.

Employees & Layoffs


The answers to each of the following questions are based on the assumption that the affected employees are not covered by a collective bargaining agreement and do not have an employment contract with their employer. In the event that the affected employees are covered by a collective bargaining agreement or an employment contract, the employer should consult the terms and conditions of those agreements and contracts. Similarly, if the employer has certain established employment policies, the employer should consult and comply with its policies.

Worker laws can be either state or federal. Federal labor laws apply to all workers in the country while state laws apply in their own areas. Some states make few laws of their own and rely mainly on federal law to regulate employer-employee relations, while others set their own laws.

Employees FAQ

Does an employer have to pay its employees for the days that the business was closed as a result of the disaster and its aftermath?
The answer to this question depends on whether the employee is considered an “exempt” employee or a “non-exempt” employee for purposes of federal and state wage-and-hour laws. Every employee must be treated as either exempt (not entitled to premium pay for overtime hours worked) or non-exempt (entitled to premium pay for overtime hours worked) under federal and state wage-and-hour laws.

The determination of whether an employee is “exempt” or “non-exempt” is a complicated, fact-specific determination. Generally speaking, an employee is considered a non-exempt employee if the employee is paid on an hourly basis and not on a salary basis. In contrast, to be considered an exempt employee, an employee must be paid on a salary basis and must have certain job duties and responsibilities that are executive, administrative or professional (among others) as required under the applicable wage and-hour laws.

An employer is not required to pay its non-exempt employees for any days or hours that the employees did not work because the business was closed following the disaster. The employer is, however, required to pay the non-exempt employee for any hours worked prior to the disaster. An exempt employee should receive his or her full salary for any week in which he or she performs any work without regard to the number of days or hours worked. Thus, if an exempt employee worked on Monday, May 20th, but worked no other days during the week, then the employer should pay the employee his or her full salary for that week.

If an employer’s records were destroyed as a result of the disaster and its aftermath, what basic payroll records does the employer need to try to recreate?
Under federal law, every employer must establish, maintain and preserve weekly payroll records, including the following information for each employee:

  • Employee’s full name, as used for social security purposes
  • Address, including zip code
  • Birth date, if younger than 19
  • Sex and occupation
  • Time and day of week when employee’s work week begins
  • Hours worked each day and total hours worked each workweek
  • Basis on which employee’s wages are paid
  • Regular hourly pay rate
  • Total daily or weekly straight-time earnings
  • Total overtime earnings for the work week
  • All additions to, or deductions from, the employee’s wages
  • Total wages paid each pay period, including money paid in cash
  • Date of payment and the pay period covered by the payment

There is no special rule relieving employers of this obligation in connection with a disaster.

When must an employer pay its workers if the employer’s payroll records were destroyed?
Any organization employing as many as 50 or more employees must make full payment to employees for services performed as often as once every two weeks, or twice during each calendar month. This payment must include all amounts due for labor or services performed up to not less than 15 days previous to the time of payment.

Does an employer have to reimburse its employees for the destruction or loss of any of their personal items, such as personal computers or cars that they may have used for business purposes?
You should consult with your insurance provider to determine whether loss of employees’ personal property is covered by any insurance policy. Ordinarily, employers are not responsible for reimbursing employees for the loss or damage to personal property an employee chose to bring to the work site.

Once an employer reopens its business, does the employer have to pay its employees for the days on which a transportation problem or some other obstacle prevented them from reporting to work?
This also depends on whether the employee is considered an exempt or non-exempt employee. For purposes of wage-and-hour laws, the employer is not required to pay a non-exempt employee for any days or hours that the employee was absent from work due to a transportation problem or some other obstacle that prevented him or her from reporting to work. An exempt employee should receive his or her full salary for any week in which he or she performed any work.

May an employer require its employees to use their accrued vacation or sick leave to cover their absences from work due to the disaster?
Once the employer reopens, if an employee is unable to report to work due to the disaster, the employer may require an employee to use his or her accrued vacation or sick leave to cover his or her absences, provided that this is consistent with the employer’s leave policies and provided that the employee’s absence from work does not qualify as leave pursuant to the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Leave under the FMLA. The FMLA provides that a covered employee may take up to a total of 12 weeks’ unpaid leave during any 12-month period for certain qualifying reasons. During the leave period, the employer must maintain the employee’s health benefits and must guarantee that the employee will be reinstated to the same or an equivalent position.

The FMLA applies to only those employers that employ 50 or more employees for each working day in each of 20 or more calendar workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year. An employee is entitled to FMLA leave if the employee (1) has been with the employer for at least 12 months, (2) logged at least 1,250 hours of services during the 12-month period immediately preceding the start of the leave and (3) is employed at a work site where 50 or more employees are employed by the employer or within 75 miles of that work site. FMLA leave may be taken to care for the employee’s spouse, child or parent with a serious health condition or because of a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the functions of the employee’s position.

Eligible employees are entitled to 12 work weeks of leave in a 12-month period for:

  • the birth of a child and to care for the newborn child within one year of birth;
  • the placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care and to care for the newly placed child within one year of placement;
  • to care for the employee’s spouse, child or parent who has a serious health condition;
  • a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job;
  • any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, son, daughter or parent is a covered military member on “covered active duty;” or
  • twenty-six work weeks of leave during a single 12-month period to care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness who is the spouse, son, daughter, parent or next of kin to the employee (military caregiver leave).

For compliance information, see

Is an employee entitled to either paid or unpaid leave so that he or she can care for children or family members injured by the disaster?
If the employee is entitled to FMLA leave as described above, the employer must allow the employee to take FMLA leave. This leave does not have to be paid leave, but the employee may be able to use accrued vacation or sick leave for the absence. Also, if the employer has a specific policy providing for leave under such circumstances, the employer will be required to comply with its policy.

Is an employee entitled to either paid or unpaid leave if the employee is too afraid or emotionally traumatized to return to work?
If the employee is suffering from post-traumatic stress or some other mental condition, the employer may be required to provide the employee with unpaid leave under the FMLA. However, the employee will have to meet the applicable requirements of the FMLA, as set forth above. If the employer provides paid leave, the employee may be able to use his or her accrued vacation or sick leave for the absence.

Health and welfare benefits FAQ

Are there sources beyond or in lieu of employers’ own insurance policies to alleviate some of the financial burden caused by the disaster?
Many of the individuals injured by the disaster may be able to receive benefits from a number of sources, including federal government assistance, charitable donations and unemployment compensation. Thus, employers should, without delaying treatment for any employees or their dependents, pay special attention to the rules of their policies regarding subrogation and the order of benefit determinations.

What can employers do to help their employees recover psychologically from the trauma of the disaster and its aftermath?
Plans may experience an increase in mental health claims, as well as more requests for assistance under employee assistance programs (EAPs). Employers should advise their employees of the availability and importance of such counseling, both for themselves and their families. If an employer does not have an EAP, counseling and other related services are available on a fee-paying basis.

What should be done about Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) coverage?
COBRA generally requires that group health plans sponsored by employers with 20 or more employees in the prior year offer employees and their families the opportunity for a temporary extension of health coverage (called continuation coverage) in certain instances where coverage under the plan would otherwise end due to a “qualifying event” (such as the death of the covered employee, termination of employment or reduction of hours sufficient to cause the loss of medical coverage). Employees self-pay the premium.

Once an affected employee loses coverage as a result of one of these events, the employer must take action to notify the plan administrator within the prescribed time period. Qualified beneficiaries must be informed of their right to continued health insurance coverage under COBRA within 44 days (the employer must notify plan administrator within 30 days, which must then notify eligible dependents within 14 days) of a qualifying event. All required notices regarding COBRA should be carefully documented and timely. Generally, the qualified beneficiary has 60 days from the later of (a) the date of termination of coverage, or (b) his or her receipt of a COBRA notice to elect to continue coverage. COBRA coverage can usually continue for up to 18 months for the employee and the employee’s dependents and for 36 months for family members of a deceased worker.


Does an employer have to provide its employees with any prior notice of termination if the employer determines that it is necessary to lay off employees?
No, if the employer does not have an established policy requiring that prior notice be given, the emergency circumstances of the disaster would relieve the employer of a notice obligation. Usually, employers with more than 100 employees may have an obligation to provide certain notice to its employees pursuant to the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act. However, the WARN Act contains an “Act of God” provision if the layoff or shutdown is the result of a natural disaster. Note that employers with established policies requiring that prior notice be given may be required to comply with their policies.

Does an employer have to provide its employees with severance pay if the employer determines to lay off employees?
No, so long as the employer does not have a plan, policy or practice providing for the payment of severance benefits. The state laws of Missouri, as well as federal law, do not require employers to provide severance pay to departing employees.

Is a self-employed, small business owner eligible to receive unemployment insurance benefits?
No. Self-employed, small business owners (sole proprietorships and members of a partnership or limited liability company) as well as independent contractors are not eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. However, persons denied unemployment insurance benefits may be eligible for disaster unemployment assistance (DUA).

Workers who lost their jobs directly as a result of the disaster in the declared counties may quality for disaster unemployment assistance. Generally, those who are eligible for state unemployment benefits are not eligible for DUA, but a claimant may qualify if state unemployment compensation benefits are exhausted.

Those who may be eligible for disaster unemployment assistance include anyone who (1) no longer has a job; (2) was unable to reach his or her job; (3) was scheduled to start work in the major disaster area and the job no longer exists; (4) now serves as the breadwinner or major supporter of a family because the head of household died; or (5) cannot work because of an injury suffered during the major disaster.
Self-employed individuals must show a copy of their 2010 income tax records.

Note: If you are applying for DUA, call 525-1500 (inside OKC area) and 1-800-555-1554 (outside the OKC area)first to get a registration number.