Legislators and local officials tour site of new Emergency Operations Center
Lawmakers and member of the public received a tour of the proposed site for an upcoming fire station and Emergency Operations Center in the southeast corner of Los Banos on Thursday.
Assemblymember Adam Gray, D-Merced and Senator Anna Caballero, D-Salinas, toured the site, located at the southwest corner of Gilbert Gonzalez Jr. Drive and Ward Road, after helping to secure $5 million for the project.
The construction of the joint facility is fundamental to the overall safety of Los Banos and the adjacent municipalities, according to a news release Caballero’s office.
Plans call for an up-to-date fire station to house additional personnel and a regional training facility. Planning and design for the station remains in the preliminary stages.
“This day has been many years in the making. Our success in securing the state funding to build a new state-of-the-art fire station and emergency operations center and training facility was truly a joint effort by the city, the county and the state representatives that you see her today,” said Caballero.
The ability to bring people together on a regional basis and train in your own community is phenomenal, she said.
Gray said he was happy the money could be secured to help the local and regional fire departments be more efficient.
Los Banos Mayor Mike Villalta said the securing of the funds by Caballero and Gray was fundamental to the safety of the city and the west side communities.
The new fire station and emergency operation center is expected to allow first responders greater access through the region’s corridors and improve response times, according to Los Banos Fire Chief Mason Hurley.
“As the community grows, we will continue to be able to serve those individuals in the same manner that we serve the people we currently serve now, said Hurley.
Supporters say the city’s current designated Emergency Operations Facility at Los Banos Fire Station 1 is no longer suitable to handle the current needs of a growing community like Los Banos.
“We have an emergency operations center now, but this funding is really going to stimulate and increase and create an environment where we can manage an emergency in a way that we’ve never been able to before in a state-of-the-art facility,” said Los Banos Police Chief Gary Brizzee.
Brizzee said having a space to conduct scenario-based training with police and fire personnel makes for a safer community.
According to Hurley, the training facility is not only a great opportunity for the Los Banos Fire Department. It will also provide other agencies around the state a location to receive the high quality training.