DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – In normal times, Volusia County’s Ocean Center plays host to dozens of trade shows, conferences, concerts, competitions, and sporting events.
But these are not normal times. The Ocean Center is now a central distribution hub for getting life-saving equipment to local workers on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19.
Approximately 94,000 square feet of exhibit space at the convention center has been converted into a temporary staging area for personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, gowns, gloves, and face shields.
Volusia County Emergency Management procured the materials through the Florida Division of Emergency Management to fulfill requests from local agencies. Pallets of supplies are shipped to the center, and then sorted and inventoried by county staff in public protection, corrections, and emergency management and readied for distribution to first responders and area hospitals, healthcare facilities, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities.
“Our processes are working very quickly. We get it in and out as quickly as we can,” said Mark Swanson, Volusia County’s deputy director of public protection. “We know the agencies out there need these supplies. So we are working very diligently to get those out.”
Establishing a large hub for staging equipment is the best and most efficient way to coordinate the effort to get supplies to where they are needed most, according to Volusia County emergency management director Jim Judge.
“Having one central and secure point for deliveries and distribution for the entire county saves on time and potential for duplication of efforts,” said Judge. “The Ocean Center is the perfect location for all logistical activities.”