Florida breaks ground on new state emergency operations center

State leaders break ground on new Emergency Operations Center
Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 3:30 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 20, 2023 at 9:54 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV/Gray TV Capital Bureau) - Three weeks after Hurricane Idalia hit the Big Bend, the state is starting construction on a new emergency operations center.

The state uses the center to coordinate resources to respond to any disaster, including every hurricane.

“Our EOC is in constant motion,” Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) Director Kevin Guthrie said during a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday.

There’s not much room to move around with all that motion. Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) Commissioner Mark Glass said that was also a problem during Hurricane Idalia.

“It was often standing room only in there. It can get very loud and we’re trying to deconflict with everything going around for your safety and security,” Glass said.

Guthrie said this new building will allow everyone to stay in Tallahassee during a storm.

“When we have a situation where we continually have individuals working the Tallahassee footprint, but outside the emergency operations center, it’s like a game of telephone,” Guthrie said.

The FDEM director said the building will be built to withstand 200-mile-an-hour winds, which is stronger than any hurricane on record. The current building is only rated to withstand a category 3 storm, like Idalia.

The state sent a crew to Pensacola before Idalia made landfall in case the emergency operations center was comprised, a plan Guthrie said will no longer be needed in the new building.

“We will be able to keep everybody in place right here at one location, which is going to help us for continuity sake, consistency sake,” Guthrie said.

The new emergency operation center is expected to open sometime in 2025.