FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - The Florence County Emergency Management Center now has a new place to call home and it's quite the upgrade from the previous facility.
Thursday morning, the center celebrated the big move with a ribbon cutting ceremony for the state-of-the-art building.
The center is considered the brain of emergency services in Florence County. It serves as dispatch for nine cities and all 25 emergency organizations in the county. The new building is designed to withstand any hazard, from tornadoes to category 5 hurricanes.
"It's part of the basic functions of a government," Kent Caudle, Florence County Council chairman, said. "We hope we can save some lives and save some property. Property we can rebuild, lives we can't and that's the goal and priority of this facility."
One of the main goals is to help make the 911 dispatchers' job easier.
"It's been really nice having everything brand new. We've never really had that before," Michelle Huggins, a shift supervisor, said. "Not all of our software is brand new, but the equipment that we're using it on is brand new and has helped with the speed and accuracy of a lot of the stuff that we do."
Along with new operating systems, employees are now able to take some time in the quiet room when the job gets tough.
It is a feature senior coordinator Kristy Burch said is important.
"They can go sit down after a really bad call, kind of compose themselves, think about what happened, work through it, get themselves back together, and then go back out on the floor and get back to work," Burch said.
Employees also have an exercise room and showers. Huggins said when it comes to emergencies, it's the little things that count.
"During the ice storm, a lot of us didn't have water so we were able to use the shower at the annex, but they weren't in the building, they weren't ours," Huggins said. "Just knowing that stuff is there in case of emergency, that's kind of reassuring too because we often get stuck here."