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Carter County EMA transfers operations to new building

BY NIC MILLER
STAR STAFF
nic.miller@elizabethton.com

When the unlikely event of something going majorly going wrong happens in Carter County, the Emergency Management Agency for the county and Director of the agency Billy Harrell are the first ones to determine how severe the situation is and whom the appropriate authorities to call in are.

With such a huge responsibility, there are many resources needed for the agency to be able to do its job in the most efficient way possible. This is why it just made sense for the Carter County Emergency Management Agency to be placed in a new building within the city.

The new office for the Emergency Management Agency is located at 525 South Sycamore Street in Elizabethton, located in the same parking lot as the Carter County 911 office.

Harrell spoke on how the new space for the agency came to be, saying, “We were really in need of a new building because of the limited capacity inside of our old space within the Carter County Courthouse. The space we were in previously did not actually contain an emergency operations center, or EOC, and there was just enough room for four chairs in the area.”

The emergency operations center mentioned by Harrell was one of the largest upgrades throughout the process, being able to be upgraded from the previously mentioned four chairs to a room that is able to hold 14 different members of different agencies throughout the state of Tennessee in the unlikely event of a major catastrophe.

However, the EOC was not the only upgrade the agency received according to Harrell, who stated, “Along with the EOC, we have a new radio that is a new addition to our space. We plan to put our amateur radio group in there, and they will be able to communicate with other agencies across the state if we have a failure of communications.”

And while the new space for the Carter County Emergency Agency is a recent addition, Harrell says that this has been in the works for a while. “This was actually in the works for about two years. We were working on a grant for the new building for a couple years, and by the time everything was actually finished it ended up being almost a three year process.”

Harrell is ecstatic about the new space for the agency in which he is the director, and is excited that there is more space for his job to be done efficiently and to the best of his ability.