Business

ON and Tulsa Fire Department to develop MOU for casino fire calls

TULSA, Okla. –Osage Casinos is in talks with Tulsa city officials to develop a memorandum of understanding so the city’s fire department may respond to emergency calls at the Tulsa casino.

Hailed as the Osage Nation’s flagship casino, the Osage Casino along north 36th Street is currently served by the Turley Fire Department and the Tulsa region’s Emergency Management Services Authority (EMSA) responds to other urgent 911 calls at the casino, according to casino management.

Osage Casinos CEO Byron Bighorse said the MOU issue was discussed at a recent meeting with casino, ON government and city officials including Mayor Dewey Bartlett. Bighorse said during the casino management’s research for the proposed Tulsa casino expansion project, it was discovered no such agreement was in place for fire-related calls with the City of Tulsa.

“There’s a Tulsa Fire Department literally half-a-mile from our front door and it makes sense to have” an MOU with TFD for faster response times, Bighorse said at the Aug. 19 Gaming Enterprise Board meeting.

According to online maps, the nearest Tulsa fire station is located on Peoria Avenue east of the casino with driving time of 3-4 minutes. The Turley Fire Department is north of the casino with nine minutes drive time.

Tulsa city spokeswoman Michelle Allen said no final decisions on an MOU have been reached as of Aug. 27. She added the city has similar agreements (also called multi-jurisdictional contracts) with the Cherokee and Muscogee (Creek) nations for their Tulsa area casinos.

Gaming board vice chairwoman Dawn Harrington asked Bighorse if board action is needed for the MOU to be developed noting that summer and fall seasons bring dryer conditions for wildfires. Bighorse said the Nation’s Attorney General’s office is working on the MOU, which will be similar to the MOU that is in place with Skiatook Fire Department for the nearby Skiatook Osage Casino Hotel property.

Discussion of the casino MOU comes as Osage Casino officials announced preliminary plans for an expanded Tulsa venue with a 132-room hotel, convention center space and a casino with 1,500 slot machines. The Fourth ON Congress will consider the casino plans as part of the 2016 ON gaming plan of operations, which they will review and take action on during the 24-day Tzi-Zho Session starting on Sept. 8.