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Grant enables fire, police to create operations center

Hurricane Dorian didn't pack the punch anticipated for the Nash County region but it did give the Town of Nashville a chance to try out its newest Emergency Operations Center (EOC).

The town's police and fire departments worked together to create the new center, which is located in the joint police/fore complex.

A recent grant from Wal-Mart helped equip the new center, which will be used during times of crisis and other busy events, such as Nashville's Blooming Festival.

Nashville Police Captain J.T. Winstead said the police department had an available conference room so he and Nashville Fire Battalion Chief Lee Coppedge got together on the idea of creating an EOC.

"I started researching funding," Winstead said.

Winstead said he applied for a grant from Wal-Mart and was awarded the grant. Winstead said the grant funded between $5,500 and $6,000 worth of electronic equipment.

The equipment includes four 65-inch television screens and a projector.

Winstead said he and Coppedge went to purchase the equipment on August 30 and spent the following Tuesday, September 3 installing it, just in time for Hurricane Dorian's arrival.

Winstead said prior to and during the storm, the television screens were linked to the 9-1-1 Center, a local news station and a statewide emergency site.

"One of the monitors have live feed of an actual radar of what the storm was doing and the track," Winstead added.

Winstead said having the EOC puts wealth of information at their fingertips constantly during the storm. Winstead said personnel were able to have instant information to relay to others.

Winstead said the type of setup the town now has is a valuable asset to the town and is something even the Communications Center doesn't have.

"The citizens of the town have a tool the scale of what 911 communications doesn't have," he said. "It should be very beneficial to the townspeople."

In addition to events like hurricanes and other disasters and crisis, Winstead said the center can also be utilized during the Blooming Festival and serve as a central point for law enforcement, fire department, EMS personnel and other festival staff.

Pictured (Above): OPERATIONS CENTER -- A collaboration between Nashville's Fire Department and Nashville's Police Department, along with grant funding, resulted in adding an Emergency Operations Center for the Town of Nashville. Pictured, Nashville Fire Department Batallion Chief Lee Coppedge, Lt. David Boykin with the Nashville Police Department and Trevor Hamilton with NC Forestry Service work to install the system just in time to monitor Hurricane Dorian last week. (Graphic photo by Jo Anne Cooper)

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