New Macon Generator Will Help in Case of Disaster

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MACON - The Macon Police and Fire departments now have a backup generator to power their building in the event of a power outage.

"We'll be able to run flawlessly. We should be able to run uninterrupted service for the community and be able to provide that service that we need to in emergency situations," Macon Police Chief Steve Olinger said.

Previously, the Macon Fire Department had a small generator to provide heat and lighting, but the police department relied solely on battery power.

"We have battery back-up lights inside the building and battery back up for our computers, but that doesn't last very long," Olinger said. "And so it would be enough to allow us to do the small tasks that we could do quickly, but it didn't operate our radios and it didn't operate the things that we needed to be able to properly serve the community."

Now, Olinger said the department has power and Macon residents can have confidence.

"They can be confident that we're able to give them everything that they need and deserve," Olinger said.

The new generator is part of a trend in Missouri to provide community services with alternate power sources. This includes police, fire and public works departments, hospitals, water towers and emergency shelters.

The Boone County Office of Emergency Management Deputy Director Josh Creamer said there is a large need for generators.

"We always need generators following any disaster no matter what it is, and so we've tried to get ahead of that need and purchase local generators and kind of have a reserve supply here locally and also within in the region so we can handle a lot of those issues quicker and without having to go to the state Emergency Management Agency for them," Creamer said.

Plus, the generators enable agencies to focus on saving lives.

"Following an emergency, there are certain critical functions in departments of agencies that you really want operating in an emergency. And so these generators make sure that all of those functions and those resources that they need are up and running so they can focus on that critical life safety and life saving actions following an emergency," Creamer said.

The need for generators and emergency power is more common than one may think.

"Just about had an opportunity to use it last night. But this area of town was one of parts of town that didn't lose power," Olinger said.

"We used them just a few weeks ago during one of the ice storms here in town. Someone cut a tree down just up the street here on Ash Street and actually knocked out the power to this building," Cassil said.

Olinger and Cassil agree that emergency generators are vital to police and fire departments.

"We call them emergency generators and that's exactly what they are. We need them during emergencies," Cassil said.

"You just never know. And when it comes times for needing it, it's just one of those things you can't wait for because it could cost somebody their life," Olinger said.