NAVFAC Hawaii Prepares for Emergencies with New Facility

Story Number: NNS091112-02Release Date: 11/12/2009 10:20:00 AM
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By James Johnson, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Hawaii Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Hawaii completed its new Emergency Management Control Center (EMCC) Oct. 27, after a yearlong upgrade of an existing building.

The new EMCC, which can withstand a Category 3 hurricane, fills an important void for the command, because prior to this project there was no suitable building for providing leadership a central place to coordinate efforts during a catastrophic event.

"When Oahu experienced an island-wide power outage last December (2008), we had some inefficiencies because not all of our emergency management personnel were centrally located," said Lt. Cmdr. Greggory Benton, NAVFAC Hawaii assistant emergency management officer.
"Now we have all the assets in one place which will make it possible to coordinate our efforts simultaneously, with a global approach."

Prior to completion of the EMCC, the coordination of emergency tasks was executed from a small service desk area in a building not rated to withstand winds of more than 60 mph. In addition, the area was not large enough to support a full emergency services staff.

The renovated building features a reinforced roof and ceiling that will withstand a Category 3 hurricane. The roof is secured with thick steel piping, which is anchored to the walls and to the ground. The building has been re-wired and an emergency generator will maintain electricity even in case of a power outage.

NAVFAC Hawaii receives its requirements from Naval Station Pearl Harbor's Emergency Operations Center and Navy Region Hawaii's Regional Operations Center. Major coordination efforts include restoring water, electricity and power, responding to facility issues and executing a refueling plan for the facilities that have emergency generators.

In the case of catastrophic event, which could be natural or human-caused, the EMCC officer and staff will move to the EMCC. Support staff will include a duty officer, maintenance and utilities supervisors, logistics, planning, and financial officers.

If needed, NAVFAC Hawaii's EMCC can operate 24 hours a day, with staff rotating on 12 hour shifts. The building has been designed to accommodate long shifts. It has a conference area, a computer work area, a watch area, a break room, and an enclosed office room for the commanding officer.

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