Cumberland Times-News

March 17, 2013

Garrett facility waits to develop its tech

County: With money, center can become state-of-the-art

Elaine Blaisdell
Cumberland Times-News

— OAKLAND — A new emergency operations center has been established in a conference room at the Garrett County Airport. As money becomes available, features will be added to make the center a state-of-the-art facility, according to John Frank III, Garrett County’s director of emergency management.

In the case of an emergency, the facility will be used as a meeting place for all those involved.

“The entire project is in the fledgling stage and is under development,” said Frank. “It’s centrally located at the Garrett County Airport, which is owned and operated by the county. If there is a major event in the county, we can expand to use the airport terminals.”

Frank said that, in the future, as monies became available, he hopes to install interactive smartboards, video monitors and a terminal for tablets and smartphones.

Also, in the future, the center could be used as a classroom and may expand to include a backup 911 center, according to Frank.

County Administrator Monty Pagenhardt is working on fine-tuning the budget to see what monies are available for the center.

“(The center) is a priority now for the county. It’s going to be a top-notch center,” said Pagenhardt.

The need for a center was determined last year and previously a makeshift command center at the courthouse was used. However, the makeshift center didn’t entirely meet the county’s emergency needs, said Pagenhardt.

“John has been in contact with the Governor’s Office and everything has been coming together for the center,” said Pagenhardt.

Federal Emergency Management and the Maryland Emergency Management Agency have been helpful in moving the process along, according to Frank.

The center will eventually have broadband once the countywide broadband project is complete, according to Pagenhardt. Currently there is broadband up to Mosser Road where Garrett College is located.  

Frank said he will have a satellite office at the center.

Contact Elaine Blaisdell at eblaisdell@times-news.com.