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Tragedy that Paved Edifying Changes: Oklahoma City Bombing

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Table of contents

  1. Abstract
  2. Oklahoma City Bombing
  3. Conclusion
  4. References


In our history of emergency tragedies we have seen vulnerabilities and the corrective actions taken afterwards. I will be covering one tragedy in our past history that paved the way for some significant key changes as the OKC bombing is the topic for the essay. I will cover the 1995 Murrah Federal Building bombing in Oklahoma City. This event had some significant situation that would cause or government to revisit certain emergency management parameters and set up new standard operating procedures.

Oklahoma City Bombing

In 1995 Oklahoma City experience one of the most deadliest terrorist acts in the United States. On the morning of April 15, 1993 Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, two Americans who were reportedly angry with the U.S. government, planted a large 4,800 pound bomb inside of a Ryder truck. Roughly around 9:00 am, McVeigh parked the truck in front of the federal building designated for drop off only.

The blast was so strong that it shattered windows from vehicles and neighboring buildings. The federal building suffered so much damage that it began to collapse in what the Fire Department described as “pancaking.” The casualty count was 168 after the blast. Reportedly there was roughly 3 stories worth of rubble in front of the building and a huge crater where the truck was parked.

Chaos ensued immediately after the blast. Civilians rushed to the building in hopes to help. Similarly emergency responders rushed to the scene without any structure of what to do. Many where not equipped to conduct any rescue missions. Injuries occurred do to the lack of safety equipment. Command was hard to established for the local fire department as neighboring agencies responded along with state and federal agencies.

What was taken from this tragedy was the lack of communication between all agencies. The Fire Chief explained that although most agencies that responded attempted to follow FEMA guidelines, there was no training amongst all agencies incase of a mutual aid scenario. The EOC was not utilized, which would have assisted in having law enforcement to attend that instead of trying to be part of the rescue efforts. Assigning multiple Public Information Officers created confusion. This led to establishing a command that would assign one Public Information Officer in order to reduce the confusion in information given.


In conclusion, after reviewing tragedy it is without a doubt that the lack of communication has played a big role in the chaos during large emergency event. Although most agencies have improved in using advanced communication devices and establishing the Incident Command System. Training will also play a huge part in being able to all work together when requested as a mutual aid.

Our communities will also play a large role in preparing and assisting for a large emergency. Organizations like The American Red Cross and programs established by local agencies such as the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) can make an enormous difference with the precise training in what to do during said emergency. Community members and emergency services should continue to strive to work together as one as we may all be needed someday to lend a helping hand.


  • Cook, A. H. (2009). Emergency Response to Domestic Terrorism: How Bureaucracies Reacted to the 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing (1). New York, US: Continuum. Retrieved from

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Tragedy That Paved Edifying Changes: Oklahoma City Bombing. (2023, February 11). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 25, 2023, from
“Tragedy That Paved Edifying Changes: Oklahoma City Bombing.” GradesFixer, 11 Feb. 2023,
Tragedy That Paved Edifying Changes: Oklahoma City Bombing. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 25 Mar. 2023].
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