It has been many years and volunteer hours in the making, but the Big Bear Valley’s Emergency Operations Center, and headquarters for the Civil Air Patrol Squadron 6750, is finally readied for its grand opening, with a building dedication ceremony scheduled for Thursday, November 19. In 2002, the Big Bear Airport District negotiated a lease with our local Civil Air Patrol, allowing for the construction of the building on the northeast corner of the airport. As construction began in 2004, Big Bear Valley’s Mountain Mutual Aid–an organization comprised of emergency response agencies, utilities and volunteer groups—used the garage bay of the Big Bear City Fire Department as our local Emergency Operations Center during the Old Fire of 2003. So, it is quite exciting that we now have an EOC for use when disaster strikes; the facility will also be used as headquarters for Civil Air Patrol and Mountain Mutual Aid. The five-year construction project, which was overseen by Friends of the Disaster Center, included countless volunteer hours of labor and fundraisers, and the contributions of material and discounts from local businesses. The completed structure, just off Greenway Drive in Big Bear City, is 3,500 square feet, and includes a large meeting room, an operations office, radio room, kitchen, bathrooms, chaplain’s office and storage areas, as well as a 30K natural gas back-up generator. The Friends of the Disaster Center will host Thursday’s dedication ceremony for the EOC and Civil Air Patrol building at 1pm.