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June 23, 2009

Chris McGee, NASA News Chief
NASA Public Affairs Office
Stennis Space Center, MS 39529-6000

NASA Opens New Emergency Operations Center

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and first lady Marsha Barbour were among special guests as officials at NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center cut the ribbon on its new Emergency Operations Center on June 2.
The 78,688-square-foot facility is a giant leap forward in emergency operations and response capabilities, enabling critical integration by consolidating the center's medical clinic, fire department, security services, energy management control system and incident command post. The facility is also on track to be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-certified – a third-party certification program that is the national benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings.
The EOC also showcases a state-of-the-art HazNet Emergency Management System developed through NASA's Innovative Research Program. The EOC is one of only nine federal facilities certified StormReady, a designation given by the United States National Weather Service to communities and sites across the country that demonstrate severe-weather readiness.
Gov. Barbour said he was not surprised by the resiliency of Stennis Space Center and its employees following Hurricane Katrina. Stennis served as an incident command post and housed emergency responders.
"This facility, the people here, meant so much to the coast. They were such a great asset," Barbour said.
NASA Associate Deputy Administrator Charles Scales said the new EOC will make Stennis more resilient against the effect of future hurricanes and ensure the continuation of its vital mission amid future weather contingencies. For example, Stennis now has an underground communication system that goes all the way to Jackson, assuring a communications pipeline to the north should systems be disrupted to the south. 
"With the new EOC, we can more effectively account for employees, preserve our communications with the outside world, respond more rapidly to site-wide emergencies, and more comprehensively manage all of our emergency response personnel in one location," said Stennis Center Director Gene Goldman.
Scales said the facility speaks to the high level of talent employed at Stennis. "The team effort involved in bringing this new EOC to fruition is second to none," Scales said. "In fact, the facility was designed by on-site architects. This facility is indeed a testament to the skills and abilities of the people of Stennis."
National Weather Service Southern Region Deputy Director Steven Cooper was among the special guests participating in the event.

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