On October 21, I had the pleasure of speaking at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Kentucky Commonwealth Emergency Operations Center (CEOC). The new CEOC, built with the help of a $10 million grant from FEMA’s Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program, is a symbol of the great emergency management partnership we have with the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
At FEMA, we support our partners in disasters and during their preparedness effort on the days between. Grants to states, counties and first responders strengthen communities and prepare them for the challenges of a disaster. This new CEOC will ensure that Kentucky will have the tools they need to respond to any event. It’s rugged, has the latest technology and is a great match for the dedicated and experienced personnel who will staff the facility during a crisis.
The $11.8 million CEOC will act as the hub of operations for future emergencies. The building itself is designed to be durable, able to withstand winds up to 250 miles per hour. In the event of an electrical grid failure, the entire CEOC can continue running on power from an 800 KW back-up generator.
The two-story, 26,150 square-foot facility replaces the former CEOC built in the 1970s and has space for more than 220 emergency personnel during a disaster response. It is outfitted with state-of-the-art communications technology to ensure the effective coordination of responders during natural disasters and emergencies. At the ribbon cutting, the Governor spoke of stepping over staff working in hallways during the response to ice storms and tornados. In the new CEOC, there will be space for all to work together to serve the Commonwealths citizens.
In addition to the grant for the construction of the CEOC, we are also funding the construction of Emergency Operations Centers for Clark, Fayette, Garrard, Jackson, Madison, Powell and Rockcastle counties in Kentucky. In total, FEMA will spend about $35 million in support of our partner, the great Commonwealth of Kentucky.
The ribbon cutting ceremony was a great day to see what we can accomplish by working together, but our job isn’t done. We’re always preparing for the next emergency to see what we can do better. But with a strong partnership in place and a new home for Kentucky responders, we’re making great progress toward a safer, disaster-resilient commonwealth.