New EOC to be built in Sarasota - WFLA News Channel 8

New EOC to be built in Sarasota

Posted: Updated:
Future EOC in Sarasota Future EOC in Sarasota
SARASOTA COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

Whenever a major storm strikes, an Emergency Operations Center plays a vital role in keeping communities safe.

But Sarasota County's EOC is in desperate need of a new facility.

County Commissioners just approved a new $18 million project that will solve that problem.   

A big, beige building off Ringling Boulevard in downtown Sarasota becomes a command center during an emergency.

Whenever a large storm strikes, the Emergency Operations Center is activated.

Inside the building, 911 dispatchers work overtime and local agencies converge and work together to help those need it.

The current building was built in the 1960s and was formerly occupied by a phone company. Officials set up the EOC there in 1994 and later realized, the building was not strong enough to handle a category five hurricane.

 So whenever a large storm strikes, the EOC relocates to nearby Wilkinson Elementary School.
Sarasota County Fire Chief Mike Tobias said, "It's not a real sustainable operation to be that way."

So County Commissioners approved a solution. On Tuesday they gave the go-ahead for a new $18 million facility.

It will be two stories tall with 39-thousand square feet of space....and it'll be built to withstand a category five hurricane.

Chief Tobias says that means there will be no need for a backup EOC.

Tobias said, "It'll be able to provide the continuity of operations for the government and all of our sister agencies that we'll need in the event of a hurricane."

Tobias says it takes time for federal authorities to come in and help during emergencies so it's vital that local agencies have a strong, safe location to work in.

He said, "This is going to help us become self sustaining and provide the services that the citizens of Sarasota county need in the event of something like that."

The new EOC will also be close to the interstate, so agencies will have easy access to help people across the whole county.

Also, the county's 911 dispatch center will work out of there year round.

"It's going to be phenomenally easier. But it's not just the easiness; it's also the survivability, the sustainability. We're able to make sure we have a continuity of government because that's what the people are going to be looking for in the event something like that happens," said Tobias.

County commissioners also approved funding to update the radio system used by first responders.

The radios in use now are 18 years old.

A new system should be installed within 18 months.

The new EOC is a big project with safety in mind, and the new facility should open in March 2015.

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Squatters moving out of New Port Richey soldier's home

    Squatters moving out of New Port Richey soldier's home

    Thursday, April 24 2014 6:50 AM EDT2014-04-24 10:50:51 GMT
    Squatters begin moving out of Spc. Michael Sharkey's home on Wednesday night.Squatters begin moving out of Spc. Michael Sharkey's home on Wednesday night.
    Our 8 On Your Side story about a New Port Richey soldier who says his home has been taken over by squatters is striking a nerve in the community and now, the squatters are moving out. 
    Our 8 On Your Side story about a New Port Richey soldier who says his home has been taken over by squatters is striking a nerve in the community and now, the squatters are moving out.  
  • Pricey processing issue at Tampa hair academy resolved

    Pricey processing issue at Tampa hair academy resolved

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 9:35 AM EDT2014-04-23 13:35:13 GMT
    Loretta Maloy says she always expected to pay for the courses she took those several weeks, but thought $10,000 in loans just wasn’t right.
    Loretta Maloy says she always expected to pay for the courses she took those several weeks, but thought $10,000 in loans just wasn’t right.
  • New Port Richey soldier says squatters won't leave his home

    New Port Richey soldier says squatters won't leave his home

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 8:58 AM EDT2014-04-23 12:58:50 GMT
    Soldier & homeowner Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago. Facebook photoSoldier & homeowner Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago. Facebook photo
     When soldier Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago, he asked a friend to watch over his New Port Richey house. Now, they're fighting to get their house back.
    When soldier Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago, he asked a friend to watch over his New Port Richey house. Now, they're fighting to get their house back.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Squatters left dogs at soldier's house in New Port Richey

    Squatters left dogs at soldier's house in New Port Richey

    Thursday, April 24 2014 9:59 AM EDT2014-04-24 13:59:37 GMT
    One of the dogs left at the soldier's houseOne of the dogs left at the soldier's house
    The house of Army Spc. Michael Sharkey sat almost empty early Thursday morning after two squatters said they moved out the day before.
    The house of Army Spc. Michael Sharkey sat almost empty early Thursday morning after two squatters said they moved out the day before.
  • Wyoming gas explosion prompts evacuation of town

    Wyoming gas explosion prompts evacuation of town

    Thursday, April 24 2014 9:55 AM EDT2014-04-24 13:55:47 GMT
    Residents and emergency crews were waiting for a fire to burn itself out after an explosion at a natural gas processing plant in a small town in southwestern Wyoming.
    Residents and emergency crews are waiting for a fire to burn itself out after an explosion at a natural gas processing plant in a small town in southwestern Wyoming.
  • Russia to hold new military exercises in southwest

    Russia to hold new military exercises in southwest

    Thursday, April 24 2014 9:45 AM EDT2014-04-24 13:45:44 GMT
    Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov says police have cleared the city hall in a southeastern city of pro-Russian protesters who had been occupying it for over a week.
    Russia's defense minister on Thursday announced new military exercises along the Ukrainian border just hours after Ukrainian troops killed at least two pro-Russia insurgents in eastern Ukraine.
  • Sign up for WFLA News Channel 8 Email Alerts

    * denotes required fields






    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Squatters moving out of New Port Richey soldier's home

    Squatters moving out of New Port Richey soldier's home

    Thursday, April 24 2014 6:50 AM EDT2014-04-24 10:50:51 GMT
    Squatters begin moving out of Spc. Michael Sharkey's home on Wednesday night.Squatters begin moving out of Spc. Michael Sharkey's home on Wednesday night.
    Our 8 On Your Side story about a New Port Richey soldier who says his home has been taken over by squatters is striking a nerve in the community and now, the squatters are moving out. 
    Our 8 On Your Side story about a New Port Richey soldier who says his home has been taken over by squatters is striking a nerve in the community and now, the squatters are moving out.  
  • Woman claims pedicure crossed the line

    Woman claims pedicure crossed the line

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 11:45 PM EDT2014-04-23 03:45:39 GMT
    A Shreveport woman said a nail tech from Style Nails in Shreveport crossed the line during a pedicure, and that she has cell phone video to prove it.
    A Shreveport woman said a nail tech from Style Nails in Shreveport crossed the line during a pedicure, and that she has cell phone video to prove it.
  • Search halted for missing Gaboon Viper

    Search halted for missing Gaboon Viper

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 7:08 PM EDT2014-04-22 23:08:20 GMT
    The missing viper could still be out there, but the search has been halted for safety concerns.
    The missing viper could still be out there, but the search has been halted for safety concerns.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.