A special ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Monday morning at Baldwin County Fire Rescue Headquarters to commemorate the county’s new emergency generator system, which was made possible through a grant of nearly $300,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency/US Homeland Security.
U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, (R-Greensboro) helped secure the funding for the new generator system through the Federal Emergency Management Agency/U.S. Homeland Security.
Baldwin County Emergency Management/U.S. Homeland Security Director Wayne Johnson said the new generator system creates a backup system in the event of an emergency power outage.
“This is something that has been a long time coming,” Baldwin County Commissioner John H. Westmoreland told those gathered at the event outside Baldwin County Fire Rescue Headquarters on Allen Memorial Drive.
Westmoreland said he and other county officials appreciated Hice’s help in getting the funding secured to purchase the new generators. Westmoreland explained that he and fellow commissioners and other county officials had tried since 2014 to get a backup generator system.
“We got $283,000 grant money to put these generators in,” Westmoreland said. “We put six in.”
He pointed out two reasons the generators were needed.
One was to make sure county firefighters can get out and do their jobs.
“These doors go down, power goes out in an ice storm, thunderstorm, whatever — these guys need to get out and do their work,” Westmoreland said.
In the past when firefighters left on an emergency call, they had to leave the bay doors open to get back into the fire station.
That is now a thing of the past.
“Now, they can close the doors, so forth and so on,” Westmoreland said.
There are still two fire stations that don’t have backup generators, but they will have them in the second phase.
“Once we get that done, all of the fire departments will be covered,” Westmoreland said.
The commissioner thanked Wayne Johnson for his involvement in the project and for making everything happen promptly.
“We are now ready to move to forward,” Westmoreland said. “Like I’ve said in the past, I’m here to keep the county moving forward. It’s nothing about what has happened in the past. This is all about the future. Let’s move forward.”
Westmoreland noted that Baldwin County Probate Judge Todd A. Blackwell, who also serves as elections superintendent, wanted to make sure that if there is a power outage at any of the fire stations that serve as voting precincts that the new generators will allow voting to continue in the event of an electrical outage.
“We wanted to make sure that our voting precincts would not be affected in the event of an electrical outage in addition to our firefighters being helped by these new generators,” Westmoreland said.
Baldwin County Manager Carlos Tobar said the county courthouse already has a generator and that the new government annex building, which is nearly completed, will have one, too.
Johnson said county officials applied for the federal grant through the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/U.S. Homeland Security.
“But ultimately, it’s FEMA funds,” Johnson said.
Johnson described it as “huge” for Baldwin County.
The total project was more than over $283,000, Johnson said.
The grant was approved last year.