LAMAR COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - The Lamar County Emergency Dispatch Center is completed and up and running.
The facility cost roughly $1.3 million, while the county spent about $400,000 on upgrading its emergency system's hardware and software to receive texts, emails and video, as well as have the most up-to-date system for the dispatchers to use.
"The facility is a lot more user friendly, a lot bigger of an environment, more up to date equipment, including the Computer Aided Dispatch system and 911 software," said Lamar County Emergency Management Director James Smith.
The location is another helpful aspect for the county, with it located just across from the community shelter near Purvis on Central Industrial Row.
"If there is an event where we have to activate the shelter, our office and dispatch center is just across the road, that way we can check on things that are needed in a hurry in the event of the worst case scenario," said Smith.
The new facility not only comes with additional 2,500 square feet, but adds two other dispatch stations for training purposes, or to be activated in the event of an emergency.
"We had to expand, the county is growing fast, and our needs were changing so we had to do something there to get us more capabilities," said Smith.
Aside from additional space the building was built to withstand a powerful punch from Mother Nature.
"The building is built to FEMA-361 standards, which is the same standards we use on community shelters and anything like that, basically it's a 250 mph wind rating, along with a list of penetration ratings, roughly for around 200 mph winds for things like 2x4s, timber, and trees," said Smith.
Smith added that the doors are reinforced, as well as the windows are the grade of "bomb proof" so that no matter what type of disaster there is, it should be able to stand it.
The facility also houses additional dispatch equipment that was purchased for roughly $50,000 last year (2014) from Jones County that Smith said should last up to or more than 15 years.
According to Lamar County Supervisors, the county is planning a ribbon cutting when the offices and facility are fully organized.