Biloxi fire stations, Hancock Co. generators receive FEMA funding

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - FEMA funding will pay for work to make Biloxi fire stations stronger to withstand hurricanes. The fire department will receive the last of $1.16 million in Hazard Mitigation Grant funds to put new roofs on three fire stations.

The work is underway at the Lee Chinn Station on Veterans Avenue, Bay Vista on Pass Road and the Popp's Ferry fire stations. Biloxi Fire Chief David Roberts told WLOX News work to get storm shutters for doors and windows is already complete.

Roberts said engineers found the roofs at the three stations needed more work than first thought, so the department had to resubmit its plans. Then, federal funding disputes in Washington delayed getting the money to Biloxi, Roberts said.

The work involves installing metal roofs attached with hurricane fasteners, in addition to mounting door and window panels designed to withstand 155+ mph winds. FEMA is providing 95 percent of the total costs of this project or $1,072,034, leaving $52,602 to be provided in nonfederal funding.

U.S. Senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker announced the funding Wednesday as part of $3.18 million for three hazard mitigation projects in Mississippi.

In addition to the Biloxi fire station project, FEMA has approved a $1.16 million grant for a Hancock County generator project and another $1 million grant to compensate the state for its ALERT FM Statewide Warning System.

FEMA is providing 100 percent of the grant for the Hancock County generator project, $1,165,320. This project involves the purchase of nine trailer-mounted generators and connectors and transfer switches for 85 lift stations and water well sites throughout Hancock County. The generators are intended to provide backup power to service unincorporated areas of Hancock County, the Hancock Water and Sewer District, and the cities of Waveland and Bay St. Louis.

"I am pleased this hazard mitigation funding is going to Mississippi to continue preparing the state to handle emergency and disaster situations. These projects are designed to allow first responders and Mississippians to be better prepared for crises," said Cochran, who serves on the Senate appropriations panel that provides funding for FEMA.

"As we continue to build back stronger from Hurricane Katrina, we need to ensure that Mississippi is well prepared for any future natural or man-made disasters," said Wicker. "I am glad this funding is heading to Mississippi to help improve our emergency response efforts."

MEMA announced in April that it had finished expanding its alert system to include an FM radio-based emergency notification system to send targeted information to county emergency managers, schools or citizens. More than 80 FM radio stations throughout the state are linked to the state's ALERT FM system.

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