New EOC loaded with technology, will be able to withstand 200 mph winds

November 14, 2013 at 1:55 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

New EOC loaded with technology, will be able to withstand 200 mph winds
St. Charles Parish officials opened the doors to a new Emergency Operations Center on Thursday that drastically increases both the space and technology that will be utilized in emergency situations.

The new EOC is 13,000 square feet and will offer five times more floor space than the current EOC, which is located in the basement of the St. Charles Parish Courthouse and is more than 30 years old.

The new building was built to withstand both winds in excess of 200 miles per hour and a man-made explosion caused by a bomb.

EOC Director Ron Perry told the crowd gathered at the opening that the walls and roof of the facility are made out of concrete that is eight inches thick. The building will also have sleeping quarters for 40 men and women, an operations room for 30 officers, a commercial kitchen and two 600 kilowatt diesel generators, each of which is capable of running all the power needed at the facility.

An audio-visual room will allow real-time assessment of imagery and maps, and another room will offer a secure area to host briefings.

Perry added that a 250-foot communications tower is under construction and will allow the parish to connect with 25 other agencies. The tower is being built to withstand 125 mile-per-hour winds.

The parish uses the Emergency Operations Center to respond to industrial emergencies, severe weather and unusual events. During major emergencies, such as hurricanes, the building will house parish officials and emergency responders.

The parish funded about 44 percent of the $5.8 million price tag of the building. Other funds include more than $1 million from the state and $1.3 million from two grants.

Dow Chemical also donated $870,000.

Tommy Faucheux, the Southeast U.S. State Government Affairs Leader at Dow, spent time in the old EOC during Katrina and said space was limited and technology was outdated.

“This is an exciting day for St. Charles,” he said.

View other articles written Jonathan Menard

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