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FPL Opens First Category 5 Hurricane-Resistant Service Center In Broward County

FPL's Vice President of Operations and Power Delivery, Bryan Olnick, left, said the Davie facility is the 11th of 12 hardened operations centers to be opened.
Caitie Switalski
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Just as the company says it’s hardening the power grid against future hurricanes, Florida Power & Light is also making some of its service centers more resilient against storm damages. 

FPL opened a new center in Davie on Thursday that’s been built to withstand a Category 5 storm. 

"That means the windows, the frame, everything in here - this building should be standing if a Category 5 storm went right over it," said Bryan Olnick, FPL's vice president for the distribution of power. 

Eighty-five people work here full time, but Olnick said the new building is meant to become a central operations center during a storm. 

"We’ll bring in even more people to ride out a storm here," he said. 

Read More: FPL Prepares For Hurricane Season With 'Lessons Learned' From Irma

The utility company is strengthening 12 facilities around the state. The idea is to have 100 workers in each of the facilities, to be able to respond during and after a storm.

The Davie location, which is officially called the Gulfstream Service Center, is the eleventh center completed so far. 

It was chosen based on an average 30-minute driving proximity to densely populated areas of Broward County. It also has a low level of risk from flooding and sea-level rise. 

The center now covers power outages in all of Southern Broward County - from the Everglades east toward the beach, and from Interstate 595 south to the Miami-Dade County line. 

The twelfth (and final) newer and stronger FPL service center is expected to open in the coming months in west Miami-Dade County.

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Caitie Switalski is a rising senior at the University of Florida. She's worked for WFSU-FM in Tallahassee as an intern and reporter. When she's in Gainesville for school, Caitie is an anchor and producer for local Morning Edition content at WUFT-FM, as well as a digital editor for the station's website. Her favorite stories are politically driven, about how politicians, laws and policies effect local communities. Once she graduates with a dual degree in Journalism and English,Caitiehopes to make a career continuing to report and produce for NPR stations in the sunshine state. When she's not following what's happening with changing laws, you can catchCaitielounging in local coffee shops, at the beach, or watching Love Actually for the hundredth time.