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County leaders dedicate new emergency operations center
by Mary Cosgrove
mcosgrove@neighbornewspapers.com
June 27, 2012 02:29 PM | 924 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Joe Livingston <br>
From left, Henry County Board Of Commisioners Chairman B.J. Mathis, Henry County Police Chief Keith Nichols, Commisioner Warren Holder, County Manager Fred Auletta and Center Director Don Ash cut the ribbon to officially open and dedicate the new 911 Center.
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When Don Ash first stood inside the building Henry County purchased to renovate for a new emergency operations center, he was skeptical.

“I came over and stood here for an hour and a half and I said, ‘I just don’t see it,’” the county’s E-911 and emergency management agency director said.

The skepticism faded away, however, as the 22,500-square-foot building transformed into a facility that features space for 18 E-911 operators, a training room, showers and an exercise area.

The $4.8 million facility had a dedication and ribbon-cutting last week.

“I am so very proud to stand here and be a part of this today,” commission chairman Elizabeth “BJ” Mathis said. “We have faced challenges financially — revenue decline, population increase — but we continue to provide quality services to our citizens.”

She said post-9/11, preparation for the unexpected is vital.

“I hope and pray we never have to use it,” Mathis said, but in the event it is needed, she said she’s comforted knowing the county has a top-notch facility.

The sentiment was echoed by Deputy Director of Georgia Emergency Management Agency Gary Kelley, who gave the keynote address.

“The communities who handle emergencies and disasters the best are the ones who think ahead,” he said. “This new emergency operations center is a testament to when community leaders put a premium on preparedness and community safety.”

Kelley said no community is immune to disaster, and thanks to the leadership of Henry County, of which he is a resident, the area is prepared to not only respond to its own emergencies but to assist to surrounding counties in metro Atlanta.

“I’m proud to live in a community where our leadership is proactive,” he said.

Before the ribbon-cutting, Ash, Henry County Police Chief Keith Nichols and Henry County Fire Chief Bill Lacy announced the dedication of the amateur communications support room.

Bruce Butler, county resident, has participated in the county’s Community Emergency Response Team program, both the county’s police and fire citizen academies and is a steadfast volunteer. Ash said the room was named after him in light of his support and participation with the county’s first responders.

The new facility is located at 526 Industrial Blvd.

Information: www.henrycounty-ga.org/911.

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