EMA holding grand opening for new wing

Published 10:53 pm Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The $4.5 million project to expand the Alabama Emergency Management Agency is now complete, and state officials will be to unveil the new building at the State Emergency Operations Center for a ribbon cutting Friday morning.

The new building is now equipped with a large training facility with the capacity for 100 people and state of the art audio/visual equipment. It offers television stations an outside connection for their live trucks during a news conference.

The additional office space was created for the preparedness division, which consists of mitigation, Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program, technical hazards and natural hazards, as well as AEMA’s training and exercise units.

“Making sure the residents of Alabama are safe is our number one priority, and that starts with having a proper facility to accomplish our day-to-day tasks and response efforts,” AEMA director Brock Long said in a statement yesterday. “That also means having the proper equipment and work space to invite our federal and state partners in when we activate for a disaster.”

The Emergency Operating Center floor was part of the renovation project. That area, which contains three new conference rooms and additional workspace, is the center of the agency during a disaster. It will also allow more space for state and federal agencies to interact with private industries when the agency is activated.

The project received $2.9 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and $1.6 million from the state’s general fund. The project broke ground in January 2007.