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EOC officially in operation

HANCOCK COUNTY — Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and first lady Marsha Barbour were among special guests as officials at NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center cut the ribbon on its new Emergency Operations Center June 2.

Officials say the 78,688-square-foot facility is a giant leap forward in emergency operations and response capabilities, enabling critical integration by consolidating the center’s medical clinic, fire department, security services, energy management control system and incident command post. The facility is also on track to be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-certified.

The EOC also showcases a state-of-the-art HazNet Emergency Management System developed through NASA’s Innovative Research Program. The EOC is one of only nine federal facilities certified StormReady, a designation given by the United States National Weather Service to communities and sites across the country that demonstrate severe-weather readiness.

NASA associate deputy administrator Charles Scales said the new EOC will make Stennis more resilient against the effect of future hurricanes and ensure the continuation of its vital mission amid future weather contingencies. For example, Stennis now has an underground communication system that goes all the way to Jackson, assuring a communications pipeline to the north should systems be disrupted to the south.

“With the new EOC, we can more effectively account for employees, preserve our communications with the outside world, respond more rapidly to site-wide emergencies and more comprehensively manage all of our emergency response personnel in one location,” said Stennis Center director Gene Goldman.

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