Jacksonville Emergency Management Office Gets Approval For Generator at West Lafayette Substation, New Light Bar Purchase

By Benjamin Cox on April 9, 2024 at 8:57am

The Jacksonville City Council approved a number of items last night to assist the city’s emergency response.

The city council approved the purchase of electrical work and a generator for the Jacksonville Fire Department Substation on West Lafayette Avenue.

Morgan County Emergency Management Coordinator Phil McCarty says that the June 29, 2023 derecho that swept across the region really brought home the necessity to get the purchase finalized after the city received reimbursement from the federal disaster declaration. He says the plan is to also have the Municipal Building equipped with a generator: “It’s always been on our radar, but it’s been cost prohibitive. With the help of the Hazard Mitigation grant from the state and FEMA, we will be able to accomplish this much easier as well as soon hopefully have [a generator installed] for the Municipal Building.”

McCarty also requested the council allow him to purchase a new light bar for the Emergency Management Department, which he says is used by various groups to get jobs done, sometimes in the dead of night: “When it’s dark, it’s really dark. I know that sounds cliche, but when we are out working on a water main at night, it becomes a safety issue. It provides us that necessary light to work safely. It’s probably one of our most used assets that our office has. We only have one. If we take it down for maintenance or if it’s just really dark wherever we’re at and we need more than one, now we have one of those assets to make it happen.”

McCarty says it’s not the only item that the Emergency Department will be asking for an update on in the near future. The West Central Joint Dispatch Board is slated to meet on Wednesday and discuss a multi-million dollar revamp of the countywide telecom system. McCarty didn’t wish to reveal more about the plan until the board’s trustees finalize the plan moving forward. McCarty did say that the agreement would require the city to pay it current share that it pays in dues annually to help complete the entire system’s overhaul.