Responding To Renovation Need

Published 6:00 pm Friday, June 17, 2011

Recent grants and other funding has enabled Brookhaven/LincolnCounty Civil Defense Director Clifford Galey to ensure thatmuch-needed renovations to the county’s emergency services buildingwill continue.

Renovations involve significant upgrades to the interior andexterior of the building. It now features a new floor and roof, andenhanced communication capabilities are on the way.

The Lincoln County Board of Supervisors provided $35,000 torestore the interiors.

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Under Galey’s supervision, county jail inmates provided theprimary labor for the interior projects. They laid the floor andput up the wall and ceiling sheetrock.

Galey has also received two grants from the MississippiEmergency Management Agency (MEMA).

Galey will use one of them, a $15,000 grant, to begin exteriorimprovements: asphalt on the parking lot, a roof over the sidewalk,new fencing and an automatic gate.

A second MEMA grant of $10,000 will expand the office’s audiovisual and phone systems.

Galey only has two phones at his disposal right now. He hopes toreplace those phones with an entirely new system that hasconference call abilities.

“I would like conference calling up before hurricane season,”Galey said, which he said typically impacts this area in mid tolate August.

The office looked far different in 2005 during HurricaneKatrina, dismally so.

Buckets were on the floor to collect water leaking through theroof. Plastic bags covered the radios to protect them from thewater.

Galey recalled filling out the same paperwork two or three timesafter it was ruined by water.

“During Katrina there was 30-40 people in the building 24/7,”Galey said. “There wasn’t room. You had to go outside to have aphone call.”

The interior renovations have increased the building’s usablespace.

“We have a place to have meetings now,” Galey said.

After Hurricane Katrina, a metal roof was added to the building.More serious renovations began in October of 2008 after HurricaneGustav, and the end might be close.

“I hope to have the inside and outside done by end of thisyear,” Galey said.

The Civil Defense office works to have a plan in place for manykinds of emergencies, ranging from thunderstorms to the recent fireat the Phillips Bark Processing Company.

Galey serves a liaison between emergency services and electedofficials. He has seen the local office needs change much over the16 years he’s been in charge of local civil defense.

“There wasn’t as much going on in the world then and there wasnot as much demand on the local level for what I do,” Galeysaid.