Emergency Operations Center ready for use in Bolivar

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BOLIVAR, Mo. The Bolivar Emergency Operations Center is ground zero for first responders during crisis situations.

EOC to serve as communication hub for first responders during emergencies

"The room is designated as the EOC for the city of Bolivar," said Brent Watkins, Emergency Management Director for the city of Bolivar.

"One of the main designs of the space is to function as a central hub in any event that might affect the city, weather it's an ice storm, or a blizzard or a tornado," Watkins explained.

City employees have worked for months to convert the basement of the city's public safety center into a dedicated space for emergency operations.

"It was truly an empty basement. It had cement floors, just like any empty home basement, that's exactly what it was. We have come a long way and it's very exciting," said Watkins.

Now finished, the room has dedicated spaces for multiple agencies within the city to work together during severe weather, or any other type of emergency.

"It's all about having communication and the ability to communicate with each other when we need it," said Watkins.

Another feature of this new space is that it's very secure. It's below ground with no windows and thick concrete walls that are weather proof, for anything mother nature might throw our way.

"It's well protected, well secured that nothing will happen to this building. We have generator backups so everything is right here so we can function as needed should the worst case scenario hit," said Watkins.

Since finishing renovations at the start of April the room has only been used once for severe weather, but as we get into sever weather season this spring, city leaders say it's a great new tool to enhance public safety.

"It creates communication, anytime you can increase communication there's nothing bad that comes from that. Anything we can do to improve that helps the fire, the police and administration of the city respond better and quicker and to solve whatever might be going on," said Watkins.

The city will also use the room for training sessions and for meetings during non-emergency times.