Sumner Co. Breaks Ground On 'Hardened' Emergency Facility
by Adam Ghassemi
GALLATIN, Tenn. – Friday leaders from across Sumner County and the mid-state marked a new milestone by breaking ground on a facility that will allow E911 dispatchers and emergency responders to keep working safely during the worst natural disasters.
"We're going to have a facility that an EF5 tornado can go right over the top and we can get back in operation," said Sumner County Emergency Management Agency Director Ken Weidner.
The building will have its own backup power supply, walls made out of reinforced concrete and be able to withstand an earthquake or EF5 tornado.
That has the attention of forecasters at the National Weather Service who will have a direct link into the center.
"We're even available to come here during a major event and actually work in their Emergency Operations Center and provide them with on-site support," said Warning Coordination Meteorologist Tom Johnstone with the National Weather Service.
The benefits will go far beyond Sumner County's borders by allowing dispatchers to send help to Davidson and other neighboring counties if needed.
"I think we're now positioned to respond in today's terms to anything that comes our way," said Sumner Co. Executive Anthony Holt. "So no matter what happens we won't shut down."
The hardened facility and the Emergency Services Center next door is part of an estimated $12 million project that only cost $3 million in local tax dollars. The balance came from federal grants or Sumner County E911 savings.
The new building should be opened by this time next year.