Daphne building first-responder safe room

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DAPHNE – In future hurricanes, Daphne first responders will have a safe location to wait out the storm and be ready to provide services as soon as the situation is safe.

The Daphne City Council voted June 3 to approve bids for an $841,853 project to build a safe room for first responders. A grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency will cover 75 percent of the costs of the project -- $631,389.75 – through Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funding. The city’s 25-percent share of the cost will be $210,463.25.

Councilman Ron Scott said the city has been seeking the grant for several years.

“A number of years ago, we applied for a grant to build a safe room after one of our local storms, I won’t use the ‘H word’ I’ve been chastised about that already,” Scott said.

He said the shelter will be built to withstand 180 mile-an-hour winds.

“It would withstand a category five hurricane,” he said. “We would preposition our personnel in this room during the storm itself because once the storm is over, once certain safety guidelines are met, then these responders have to go out and start attending to the needs of the city.”

During hurricanes and other emergencies, Daphne first responders are now stationed in structures that are not built to withstand extreme winds.

The shelter will be constructed on city property on Public Works Road. The new building will be 2,657 square feet in size. The bid proposal calls for the project to be completed in 300 calendar days.

EJ Builders was the low bidder with a submission of $631,389.75.

Daphne’s 25 percent share of the project includes $35,000 for the land donated by the city and $117,129 in engineering costs that were approved earlier, according to city reports. The council voted June 3 to approve an appropriation of $58,334 from the General Fund to cover the remaining costs of the $210,463 in matching funds.