WIGGINS, Miss. – Today – the first day of the 2016 hurricane season – the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) officially opened the first stand-alone State Medical Needs Shelter in the country. The $7.7 million facility is located on Coy Avenue in Wiggins.
Construction began on the shelter in 2014. Following a ribbon-cutting ceremony this afternoon, local, state, and legislative officials toured the state-of-the-art facility.
The shelter is designed to house Mississippians with medical support needs during an emergency or disaster. It is built to FEMA 361 standards and is designed to withstand winds up to 200 miles per hour. It also contains a negative-pressure infectious disease isolation room – the first of its kind in any medical needs shelter in the nation.
“This facility is truly the first of its kind in the nation,” said MSDH Director of Health Protection Jim Craig. “The layout makes the facility versatile in the type of care that can be provided, and contains impressive telehealth capabilities for communications with the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.”
The 23,416 square-foot facility will offer shelter to those with medical needs exceeding what could be offered in a general population shelter and is self-sustaining for 36 hours with a backup power source, and sewer and water connections.
“The generous officials in Stone County provided the property, which is close to the airport and to the general population shelter used during an emergency,” said Craig.
Funding for the facility was provided through federal Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funds and made possible through partnerships with FEMA, MEMA, and other state and local partners.
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