County adding storm shelter

Published 1:56 am Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Will serve as work station for EMA in emergency

Covington County’s emergency personnel will soon have a safer place to operate during a storm.

On Tuesday, the Covington County Commission agreed to let bids for a storm shelter for the county’s Emergency Management Agency. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has awarded the local EMA a $235,362 grant for the project. The county will pay a 25 percent match, or $34,650, to equip the facility as an emergency operations center.

“We are very excited to keep this project rolling,” EMA director Susan Harris said. “We still have a lot of steps to complete but we have checked this one off.”

The shelter will be built on the campus of the county’s administration center. Harris said that now she will be able to get the specs of the building figured out before she sends them off to FEMA for approval.

“We are hoping to have a section of the shelter to house employees so they can work during a storm,” Harris said. “So because of that, we had to ask the commission to help out.”

Harris said that the current plans will allow the shelter to hold 75 people and will have three modules, the emergency operations center, a storm shelter area and another storm shelter area with two restrooms and a shower.

Storm volunteers still needed

Hurricane season is also in full swing and Harris said that the recently-formed Volunteer Organization Active in Disaster group still needs volunteers.

“We have gotten in a lull,” Harris said. “But hopefully at our meeting next Tuesday night we will talk about setting up an exercise to help prepare our volunteers.”

Harris said that September might be an active season for hurricanes in Covington County.

“September might be a very active season,” Harris said. “So hopefully people are already prepared because if they aren’t then it might be too late.”

The VOAD meeting is set for 5:30 p.m. Tues., Aug. 21, at the Covington Baptist Association on Hwy. 84 east of Andalusia.

The commission also:

  • Approved a contract renewal with Revenue Discovery Systems.
  • Approved for the county engineer to solicit his annual bids.
  • Approved the surplus of equipment.
  • Approved the disposal of a 2007 Dodge Ram, a 1996 Ford F250 and a 2006 F250.
  • Approved adding three positions to the Sheriff’s Department that will be paid for by the law enforcement fund.