FEMA providing $505K for Long Beach firehouse/shelte

Published 4:39 pm Friday, September 1, 2006

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will provide $505,000 to build a new firehouse in Long Beach that will double as a shelter for emergency personnel.

The 2,700-square-foot facility will replace Fire Station Number 2 that was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

“This project is the first Partnered Mitigation Project that brings together the funding from our Hazard Mitigation Grant Program and Public Assistance programs at the same time to repair or replace public facilities and make them stronger,” said Nick Russo, federal coordinating officer for the Mississippi disaster recovery.

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The funds are administered by Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.

About $128,000 in public assistance funds will be used to replace the former fire station. A hazard mitigation grant totaling about $377,000 will allow the firehouse to be “hardened” by using reinforced concrete in the construction — enabling it to withstand 200 mph winds, Russo said.

“This will not only be a firehouse that can withstand high winds and storm surge, but a safe haven for those individuals who are so crucial immediately after a disaster strikes,” said MEMA interim director Mike Womack.

The fire station will double as a shelter for 52 emergency personnel including firefighters, police, emergency medical technicians and heavy equipment operators.

“This is a critical facility for our first responders,” said Long Beach Mayor Billy Skellie. “Without it, we would have to locate emergency personnel farther inland, adversely impacting the safety of our residents.”

The firehouse will be outfitted with emergency generators and a 14-day fuel supply to support continuous operations.