Whatcom Unified Emergency Coordination Center opens in former IMA Warehouse Space

By: Elliott Smith
A building formerly occupied by UCanTrade, Inc. (formally known as International Market Access, Inc.) in Bellingham has found a new purpose: public safety. The Whatcom Unified Emergency Coordination Center (WUECC) was dedicated on July 18, 2014 with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Warehouse
The Building that now houses the WUECC was home to IMA From 1997 to 2009.

The building, located adjacent to Bellingham International Airport at 3888 Sound Way is owned by the Port of Bellingham, and was occupied by International Market Access, Inc. from 1997 to 2009.
In 2009, UCanTrade moved to 1465 Slater Road in Ferndale, giving our clients convenient access to Interstate 5. At that time, the Sound Way building was retrofitted by the US Department of Homeland Security for use as a federal, state and local coordination center for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, BC. The Center was closed in 2011, following the conclusion of the Winter Games.
Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo reached out to the BP Cherry Point Refinery to discuss establishing a new coordination center in the building. Multiple government agencies, including the City of Bellingham, Whatcom County and the Port of Bellingham formed a partnership to open a new Emergency Coordination Center.
BP donated equipment and furnishings that had been used during the company’s spill response on the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, when BP employees from around the country were sent to the Gulf to assist with the cleanup. Furnishings and equipment used in that effort will now go on to have a further useful life at the WUECC thanks to BP. In addition to BP’s support, neighboring refinery operator Phillips 66 donated $50,000 towards infrastructure enhancements at the WUECC.
Emergency Management
Officials cut the ribbon to officially open the WUECC on July 18, 2014. Photo courtesy Bellingham Police Dept.

The WUECC facility now serves as an Emergency Coordination Center. The space includes a large operations room, a communications/radio room, five meeting rooms, and two large multipurpose areas. The size of the facility provides adequate space for 300+ federal, tribal, state, local, private sector and volunteer response personnel. When not activated for a disaster, the facility provides space for meetings, trainings and exercises
More information about the Whatcom Unified Emergency Coordination Center is available on their website.
 
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Logan West