Opp acquires Army Reserve building for emergencies

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 9, 2016

In the event of a natural disaster or other emergency, the city of Opp has acquired the old Army Reserve building for an emergency operations center.

Mayor John Bartholomew said in the event of a disaster, the fire department and police department will set up a command station at the facility.

The council on Monday night approved the $2,691 purchase of vinyl and trim for the facility and $1,000 for air conditioning blowers.

Bartholomew said in the event of a natural disaster, the hub for water and supplies.

“Any city residents will be able to pick up supplies here,” he said.

Bartholomew said having the facility could help lower the ISO rating, which helps keep down insurance rates.

“This helps when recruiting industry,” he said.

Fire Chief Cory Spurlin said Tuesday that ISO rating are based on more criteria than just the fire department and includes water, dispatch and communication, as well.

Spurlin said that the facility would also be used in the future as a training area for the fire department and the police department.

“We are also wanting to use the area in the back for training,” he said. “There are classrooms in the facility. When we host fire college classes, this will give us another facility. The police department will be able to do the same.”

Spurlin said there is currently no money for the additional training but he plans to heavily pursue grants to help offer different training scenarios.

“This will help us with the insurance greatly,” he said. “It’s kind of a two-part with the communications and training part also. Hopefully it will drop us a point on ISO in the future.”

Spurlin said the not only with the facility help with the rating, but it will also help local firefighters and the local community.

“We are excited for the emergency operations center and for what it will mean for our community,” he said.