Pa. National Guard opens new facility for emergency operations

By Christian Alexandersen | calexandersen@pennlive.com
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on January 09, 2015 at 4:05 PM, updated January 09, 2015 at 4:13 PM

Instead of the cramped Cold War shelter they were working in before, the Pennsylvania National Guard along with Gov. Tom Corbett cut the ribbon on new Joint Emergency Operations Center on Friday.

Located at Fort Indiantown Gap, the new 8,000-square-foot facility cost $1.5 million to build. The new operations center will be used to coordinate rescue efforts during times of emergency.

Pennsylvania Adjutant Gen. Wesley Craig said the National Guard used the previous 1,300-square-foot facility to coordinate responses to more than 100 emergency situations.

Over the past 51 years, Craig said the Pa. National Guard provided help during floods, security situations, snow storms, tornados, droughts, fires, kidnappings, airplane crashes and oil spills.

“You name it, we’ve done it,” Craig said. “With the opening of this new emergency operations center, we usher in an era of increased readiness and strength in our already-rapid response capabilities in Pennsylvania,” Craig said.

Corbett, who served in the Pa. National Guard, spoke about the importance of having a state-of-the-art emergency operations center.

Corbett said he got to test out of operations center’s capabilities in 2011, when a flood forced him from the Governor’s Mansion.

“You can’t be in a second-rate facility,” Corbett said. “I am confident that what you built is not only what you’ll need for today, but what you’re going to need for 10 years, 15 or 20 years down the road.”