Emergency Responders Opening Massive Sumner Co. Facility - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Emergency Responders Opening Massive Sumner Co. Facility

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by Adam Ghassemi

GALLATIN, Tenn. Crews are putting the last touches on the massive Sumner County Emergency Services Building ahead of next week's grand opening.

Emergency Management Director Ken Weidner said the facility will house all rescue equipment in one place, but also put local, state and regional officials together during a disaster.

"It put everybody in one room and if a resource is needed it's requested," Weidner said.

Sumner County Emergency Medical Services, which operates ambulances county-wide, is housed there as well with new shower stalls and housing for staff to work 24-hour shifts.

The building was once the corporate headquarters of the now bankrupt Sumner Regional Health Systems.

The company's old boardroom is now a medical training facility.

"I just think it's kind of ironic. It was a health facility or somewhat health facility and we're in that same field," said EMS Director Keith Douglas.

The old EMA building is not a hardened structure, or storm proof, meaning the same people who respond to tornadoes once had to evacuate their own building and take cover in a nearby ditch during an outbreak.

"To withstand any type of storm or anything, that was a big issue with us. We just didn't have the space we needed," Weidner said.

The county allotted $2.9 million to buy the property, and another $500,000 to customize it, according to Weidner.

After 18 months, an additional hardened, adjacent building will be complete to permanently house the county's E911 dispatch center as well.

"It makes our first responder ability across the board, police, fire, EMS, it makes you proud to be from Sumner County," said Weidner.

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