Safety

Emergency center useless in ice storm

Emergency Management Alert, February 10, 2009

The importance of having enough generator power in an emergency was a lesson brought home by one story that came out of the recent ice storms in Arkansas. An emergency operations center in Fayetteville, which was stocked with radios, computers, meeting rooms, and even beds and showers, went unused by Washington County officials during the ice storms, reported the Associated Press (AP).

The county had developed the center in the former juvenile jail in downtown Fayetteville in 2006 and spent about $100,000 in furnishings, the AP reported. However, the center did not have enough generator power to run all the communication equipment when electricity went out the first night of the storm, and the center went unused in the ice storms.

The county’s emergency management director told the AP that the county managed the emergency from the road department, which had an adequate generator. The emergency center should have an upgraded generator in the next six months, the AP reported.

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