SWAT, dive team, Hazmat will all soon be housed at centralized emergency response center in Mentor

Posted at 2:54 PM, Oct 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-16 16:22:30-04

Nothing like it exists right now in the region, according to first responders. 

Trucks, trailers and special equipment for HAZMAT, the dive team, ATVs, SWAT, the bomb squad, search and rescue and more are currently spread out all over the Lake County region.

Chief Robert Searles with Mentor Fire said that can be problematic. 

"Time is of the essence and seconds do count...often times we have to move equipment to get it in the right place to respond appropriately."

That's changing. 

"The regional response facility will put it right there, ready to go," he explained, referring to an Emergency Response Center that will be built on the land near Lost Nation Airport in Mentor, just feet from first responders. 

Lake County first responders have been pushing for a centralized location to house equipment for years to reduce response and planning time in an emergency. 

State House Representative Ron Young helped secure a $500,000 safety grant from the state to get the ball rolling on a centralized response center.

"It's critical that these days, 21st century America, that our safety personnel can respond instantly in an emergency," Representative Young said.

Officials are still finalizing exactly where on the land the center will be built. Those plans and construction plans will be out in 2018.

"Has there been a recent incident where you guys wished this already existed?" News 5 asked Chief Searles.

"We've been hoping for this for the past decade," he said.