County To Build New Emergency Ops Center
May 04, 2016
Mobile County will break ground on a new Emergency Operations Center (EOC) this year that will house the Mobile County Emergency Management Agency and serve as the central command and control center in the event of an emergency such as a hurricane or chemical spill. The current EOC on McGregor Road is 60 years old and is operationally inadequate because of outdated technology and cramped work quarters.
“In a community that is prone to hurricane events, it is critical that we have an adequate emergency response center,” said Mobile County Commission President Jerry Carl. “Our top priority is to protect the lives and properties of people in Mobile County.”
The project is a collaboration of the County, the city of Mobile and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The new facility will house the Mobile County Emergency Management Agency year-round. But it also has to accommodate about 100 people who are called out in the event of an emergency, such as a hurricane or chemical spill.
The proposed building expands space by a factor of four, from about 7,500 square feet to 31,000 square feet with 78 work stations. The building will be located on Zeigler Boulevard adjacent to the Mobile County 911 Communications Center and the NOAA Gulf of Mexico Disaster Response Center.
“Operations are hampered by inefficiencies in our current building,” said Mobile County Commissioner Merceria Ludgood. “We have first responders bunking overnight in storage rooms and lack of appropriate space for new technology.”
“Since I entered office in 2010, the EOC has been one of my top priorities because the safety and welfare of our citizens is our paramount.” said Mobile County Commissioner Connie Hudson. “I have worked hard to keep this alive, including initiating negotiations with ALEA to extend funding of the federal grants. It’s been a long process, but well worth the efforts.”
The county will assume the major part of the cost for the new EOC. The Mobile County Commission has been banking funds since 2010 and has more than $7 million in its Capital Improvement Budget toward an estimated cost of about $10 million for the project. The city of Mobile will contribute $500,000 and it has donated the 8.3 acres of land for the building site. Another $2 million has been added by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) through Homeland Security grants.
The project is expected to be completed in the spring of 2018.