ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The 2019 hurricane season marks a major move for the St. Petersburg Emergency Operations Center, which will now be stationed in the city’s brand new police headquarters.
"It's a safety issue. We know this building is rated to a category five plus, so it's a perfect space for the city to respond to any disaster,” said emergency manager, Amber Boulding.
The new building can withstand winds up to 195 miles an hour and has five backup generators to mitigate any issues with power. Additionally, a brand new Hiperwall will let leaders view camera feeds and weather reports in a single space.
The police department also has hundreds of new cots for added comfort.
"We have dedicated bunk rooms to sleep in, dedicated break rooms, even breakout rooms, so if we need to leave the EOC center to take conference calls or smaller briefings or meetings, we have the space to do that here,” said Boulding.
St. Pete mayor Rick Kriseman will also have an office in the new EOC center, which is a change from the space officials had previously in the Water Resources building.
Outside of that office is an executive policy group room for city leaders to convene.
“This is where all the decision-makers in the city are," said Boulding. "The mayor's office, city administration, all the department administrators--so any big decision that has to happen for the city is going to happen in this room."
Emergency management officials urge residents to prepare for storms now. Residents can sign up for Alert St. Pete to receive storm notifications, and the city is also hosting a hurricane expo on Saturday to help people learn their evacuation routes and get a jump start on building their preparedness kits.
The St. Pete EOC is separate from that of Pinellas County.
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