Adams County Office of Emergency Management moving to new location

Local4 News at 5
Published: Sep. 21, 2023 at 6:45 PM CDT
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - After decades of calling fire station one in Hastings home, the Adams County Office of Emergency Management is on the move to its own building.

The address of their new location will be 2965 South Baltimore Ave. Emergency Management Director Ron Pughes said they were informed they could move into the building on August 18 and jumped on the opportunity to utilize the building.

What was an elementary school band room is now their very own Emergency Operation Center. Pughes said there was mostly cleanup work to do such as painting and cleaning carpet.

Pughes feels the new location will make them more prepared for emergency situations and described it as a place they can call their own. This is the first time emergency management has it own location, and it’s more centrally located in Adams County.

“It’s great because for continuity of operations I always believe that Emergency Operations Center should be different than other emergency services building; in event if something was to happen,” Pughes said. “If a tornado took out that building then we’ve lost two essential services. Where now we’re on own, so we’re spread out a little bit more, which I think it should be.

Pughes said having a dedicated Emergency Operations Center will save at least 30 minutes in response time to an emergency because they won’t have to set up the meeting room when an emergency happens.

The room features work stations for everyone involved, along with the capability to hold emergency meetings virtually through the Owl camera system. Owl can be accessed through any electronic device.

The move becomes official October 1, and will be used in a variety of ways.

“This is good because it’s set up as an EOC, but we can use it during blue sky events when there’s not a crisis going on,” Pughes said. “It provides a backup area to have meetings if we need to move the council commissioners meetings to different locations it gives us that. It sits about 40 people in there.”

Pughes said it can also be used as a training room. He said they were fortunate to only spend around $700 to clean the place after it had been vacant over five years. The money used to clean the building is the same money in their budget that would’ve been used for improvements if they were still in the fire station.

“The nice thing about this building, even though it’s bigger it’s not going to take any additional staff,” Pughes said. “It’s not going to take any more budgetary requirements than our last building took. So we’re able to continue to fulfill a better operation and keep it fiscally responsible for the county.”

Pughes said they have eight volunteers, and they’re working on installing a communications center which will serve as a backup 911 center.