CEMA director provides update on new emergency operations center

Published: May. 4, 2023 at 4:24 PM EDT
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CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - The head of the Chatham Emergency Management Agency provided an update on a new emergency operations center.

It’s a facility expected to help crews better monitor potential disasters. This center has been in the works for years and will be located at the Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport.

CEMA officials say they just wrapped up the design phase of this project with construction expected to start in the coming months.

CEMA says the new center will be built on some of the highest land in Chatham County. That’s important because it will allow them to remain in the community during category four and five hurricanes as opposed to moving operations farther inland.

The new EOC is expected to cost around $41 million.

In March, Georgia Senators Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock announced $1.2 million for the project included in last year’s government funding package.

According to CEMA’s website, the current primary EOC is at the Old Courthouse on Bull Street in Savannah.

Agency Director Dennis Jones says the center’s new location will lead to a better response in the wake of natural disasters.

“Bringing in resources is going to be so much easier because we have direct access to I-95, I-16, to the airport. So, we can fly in resources, we can truck in resources. It’ll be a resource hub for the county, and really, for the region,” Jones said.

The new center will also house the county’s E-911 center and the airport’s public safety crews.

Jones said there is no set date for the center’s opening. He says in the next few months, bids for contractors will go out with construction expected to being in the next six to eight months.