Oklahoma Solution Provider: 'We'll Get Back Up'12:05 PM EST Tue. May. 21, 2013
The city of Moore, Okla., will rebuild -- again -- following the second deadly tornado in 14 years, said a solution provider in the area.
"We went through May 3, '99, we lost our house, lost our church. We'll get back up," said Rob Bird, owner of Computers N Moore, Tuesday.
Bird said his office and his and his employees' homes were spared, but he was lucky. Reached by phone by CRN, Bird could only spare a couple of minutes before going back to assessing the situation and helping his clients in the close-knit community 11 miles south of Oklahoma City.
Bird estimates that 80 percent of his small-business clients suffered damage because most of his clients are located within the Moore town limits.
The May 1999 tornado had wind speeds of more than 300 mph and killed 36 people in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area. Monday's tornado reportedly cut a path up to 2 miles wide and 20 miles long with speeds of more than 200 mph.
"There's no Internet, no power. They're down. We're down. That's what we're doing now. We're making do with what we've got. We're going to do it," Bird said. "[Customers] can't do anything. We have to go outside Moore. That's what I'm trying to do. We've got to find Internet somewhere."
Meanwhile, John Stringer, managing partner at IT Guys, an Oklahoma City-based managed service provider, said his business was intact but that some friends and clients have been impacted.
"We have a number of customers with Internet outages and power outages. We don't have full information on them at this time but the majority of customers have had their operations restored," Stringer said. "The [Moore] area is so damaged that they've asked that only first responders be there in person."
IT Guys has a full disaster recovery plan in place, which it put into effect yesterday, Stringer said. He worked directly yesterday with one large client that appeared to be directly in the tornado's path.
"Disaster recovery plans are individualized for each client because their needs are so different. We pulled the one client's plan as soon as their status lights went dark on our dashboard," Stringer said. "They were fortunate. They were in their shelter, but it skipped by them. Their building withstood the tornado and they just lost power and Internet."
After such a dark day yesterday, Stringer said, his community woke up to better news today.
"Yesterday, they were talking 91 deaths. This morning, they pulled 101 people out of shelters overnight and the death toll went down [significantly]. I'm really happy about that," he said.
Stringer also wanted to extend a thank you to MSP Alliance and its members who reached out to Oklahoma members last night with support.
"It was such an outpouring of people offering virtual machine hosting, data center space, whatever we needed to continue our operations," he said.
IT Guys didn't need any help, but Stringer said "it's such a good feeling to know you can count on the [MSP] community."
NEXT: Joplin, Mo., VAR Offers Advice
The tornado watch extended all the way to Joplin, Mo., Monday where John Motazedi, president of SNC Squared, spent part of the evening in the basement with his family after a tornado warning was issued for that town.
"We had warnings and watches for a good portion of the evening. We had dinner in the basement. My 7-year-old was wearing a bicycle helmet eating pizza," Motazedi said.
Motazedi's company saw its headquarters destroyed after a tornado struck Joplin in May 2011.
"This [Oklahoma tornado] really brings some bad memories and kind of an uneasy gut feeling," Motazedi told CRN Tuesday. "We saw the Oklahoma ones. Those were coming straight toward us. We had heard around 3:00 or 4:00 that Oklahoma, especially Moore, got hit pretty hard. Oh, great. It was headed straight up I-44 toward us."
Luckily, Joplin was spared this time. That not being the case for Moore, Motazedi offered advice to VARs and businesses that might be assisting in a cleanup today.
"Safety is the big key. Make sure you're safe. Get some tetanus shots, especially if you're digging through debris. That was recommended to us," Motazedi said. "Document and photograph all workstations and machines. Take pictures as you uncover any machines. Turn on the GPS on your iPhone when you take picture so you know where you were when you took the picture. Just be careful. And ask for help as quickly as you need it. We asked for help pretty quickly when we realized that this was well beyond our scope."
PUBLISHED MAY 21, 2013