Yesterday, the County Commissioners announced a grant award from the Ohio Emergency Management Agency (EMA) to construct a facility within the County Children Services Center at 204 Davis Avenue in Marietta.
State EMA Director Nancy Dragani told WMOA News it’s imperative to have a functioning EOC in every county. “Our desire for a long time has been to have a viable and safe Emergency Operations Center in every county and I am very pleased that we have this opportunity right here in Washington (County),” said Dragani.
The project cost is $475,000, which will be split fifty-fifty between the state grant and the county at a cost of $237,500 dollars each.
Commissioner Tim Irvine said the Center will serve for emergencies both county-wide or those that hit a certain city, township, or village.
According to County EMA Director Jeff Lauer, the dire need for a permanent facility was apparent after the June 29th derecho storm, when a temporary EOC at the Courthouse was forced to shut down and move due to a generator fire.
“Everybody knew it, but after that, it became a priority,” noted Lauer. “The generator fire really made us scramble and although we did have a back-up plan, (the incident) brought this issue to the forefront and is helping us plan as we do this. For example, now the generator will be outside, instead of in the building - we’re going to mitigate those issues.”
The Emergency Management grant was awarded to 14 counties out of 25 applicants.
Darlene Lukshin, with The Ohio State University Extension Office, wrote the grant for Washington County. Lukshin emphasized that having an EOC will provide a faster response to emergencies and save local lives and property.
The next step for the Emergency Operations Center will be finding an architect and finalizing a design. Jeff Lauer says their goal is to have a ribbon cutting on June 30th, 2013.