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>>

  • Back-to-School Tax-free Holiday is here

    Back-to-School Tax-free Holiday is here

    Friday, August 1 2014 11:37 AM EDT2014-08-01 15:37:09 GMT
    It's almost time to head back to school and that means it's time to shop.
    It's almost time to head back to school and that means it's time to shop.
  • Tampa Bay woman feels ripped off, pays $61 for coins worth $1.50

    Tampa Bay woman feels ripped off, pays $61 for coins worth $1.50

    Thursday, July 31 2014 6:10 PM EDT2014-07-31 22:10:55 GMT
    Vickie McInnis responded to a newspaper ad promising a chance to buy old, rarely-seen coins.Vickie McInnis responded to a newspaper ad promising a chance to buy old, rarely-seen coins.
    Vickie McInnis responded to a newspaper ad promising a chance to buy old, rarely-seen coins that have been sitting in a bank vault for years.With shipping, she paid $61.43. But, here's what she received: a bag of about 100 pennies, worth at most: $1.50.
    Vickie McInnis responded to a newspaper ad promising a chance to buy old, rarely-seen coins that have been sitting in a bank vault for years.With shipping, she paid $61.43. But, here's what she received: a bag of about 100 pennies, worth at most: $1.50.
  • Tampa Bay Water begins filling Bill Young reservoir

    Tampa Bay Water begins filling Bill Young reservoir

    Thursday, July 31 2014 5:45 PM EDT2014-07-31 21:45:52 GMT
    Tampa Bay Water is celebrating a rebirth of sort for its beleaguered Bill Young reservoir. TBW is now diverting water from the Alafia river and filling the reservoir after a massive gutting and renovation project that cost in excess of $124 million dollars.
    Tampa Bay Water is celebrating a rebirth of sort for its beleaguered Bill Young reservoir. TBW is now diverting water from the Alafia river and filling the reservoir after a massive gutting and renovation project that cost in excess of $124 million dollars.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Body found near Polk search area for missing girl

    Body found near Polk search area for missing girl

    Friday, August 1 2014 11:58 AM EDT2014-08-01 15:58:00 GMT
    A decomposed body has been found near the search area for a missing 16-year-old Orange County girl.According to the Osceola County Sheriff's Office, an unidentified, decomposed body was found by a citizen at about 9:30 a.m. on Friday on State Road 532 between ChampionsGate and the Reunion Resort.
    A decomposed body has been found near the search area for a missing 16-year-old Orange County girl.According to the Osceola County Sheriff's Office, an unidentified, decomposed body was found by a citizen at about 9:30 a.m. on Friday on State Road 532 between ChampionsGate and the Reunion Resort.
  • Back to School: Tips for affordable 'Teacher's wish lists'

    Back to School: Tips for affordable 'Teacher's wish lists'

    Friday, August 1 2014 11:47 AM EDT2014-08-01 15:47:24 GMT
    File Photo: Wikimedia CommonsFile Photo: Wikimedia Commons
    If you received one of those last minute "Teacher's Wish List" for back to school supplies, there are ways to fill it without breaking the bank.Mommy blogger and Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine contributor Laura Byrne recommends shopping with other parents at a warehouse store...
    If you received one of those last minute "Teacher's Wish List" for back to school supplies, there are ways to fill it without breaking the bank.Mommy blogger and Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine contributor Laura Byrne recommends shopping with other parents at a warehouse store...
  • Baycare Sports Medicine Conference is Saturday

    Baycare Sports Medicine Conference is Saturday

    Friday, August 1 2014 11:36 AM EDT2014-08-01 15:36:08 GMT
    The annual BayCare Sports Medicine Conference is Saturday, Aug. 9 starting at 8 a.m.This year, the topic is about keeping young athletes on the playing field and in the game.The keynote speaker is David Epstein, Sports Illustrated senior writer and author of the acclaimed book, The Sports Gene.
    The annual BayCare Sports Medicine Conference is Saturday, Aug. 9 starting at 8 a.m.This year, the topic is about keeping young athletes on the playing field and in the game.The keynote speaker is David Epstein, Sports Illustrated senior writer and author of the acclaimed book, The Sports Gene.
  • 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>>

  • Gator comes to front door in Coral Springs home

    Gator comes to front door in Coral Springs home

    Friday, August 1 2014 7:17 AM EDT2014-08-01 11:17:15 GMT
    A couple in Coral Springs thought a raccoon was making noise at their front door but when they came out they found a large alligator there, WPLG reported. The alligator was about 9 feet long, according to the WPLG story.
    A couple in Coral Springs thought a raccoon was making noise at their front door but when they came out they found a large alligator there, WPLG reported. The alligator was about 9 feet long, according to the WPLG story.
  • Screams, panic caught on video as shark charges at swimmers near beach

    Screams, panic caught on video as shark charges at swimmers near beach

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 5:48 PM EDT2014-07-30 21:48:04 GMT
    Facebook image from Dan FlynnFacebook image from Dan Flynn
    A Florida beach cleared out – with the exception of a woman and lifeguard who tried to save her – when a shark was spotted heading straight toward swimmers on Tuesday afternoon. The panic of the 10-foot shark and people screaming from the pier was caught on tape.
    A Florida beach cleared out – with the exception of a woman and lifeguard who tried to save her – when a shark was spotted heading straight toward swimmers on Tuesday afternoon. The panic of the 10-foot shark and people screaming from the pier was caught on tape.
  • Giraffe dies after smashing head on low highway bridge

    Giraffe dies after smashing head on low highway bridge

    Thursday, July 31 2014 3:37 PM EDT2014-07-31 19:37:45 GMT
    A giraffe has been killed after smashing its head on a bridge while being transported dangerously on a highway in South Africa, wildlife officials said Thursday.
    A giraffe has been killed after smashing its head on a bridge while being transported dangerously on a highway in South Africa, wildlife officials said Thursday.
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.