County Obtains Mobile Command Unit

Richland County is now in possession of a Mobile Command Unit, EM-3, that could be worth its weight in gold if a high priority or time extended emergency occurs in the area.

"It's something that we have talked about for a long time," Brandon Roth, Richland County's emergency management director, said. "Having this in our own toolbox will benefit the residents of Richland County. It's awesome."

A grant from the Department of Homeland Security is paying about 90 % of the purchase. DES successfully obtained the grant about a year and a half ago.

Mobile Concepts, Mount Pheasant, PA., built the command unit. Total cost is about $220,000.

Roth explained that more and more agencies are starting to feature mobile command stations. Along with emergency situations, the command unit will also be utilized at events with large attendance such as the Richland County Fair.

An example of where the unit would be extremely beneficial is when a large fire occurs into a remote area.

Roth noted that a large amount of emergencies occur when there's not a power source near. The command unit features an on-board generator so both heat during freezing temperatures and air conditioned during 100-degree days will be available to provide emergency responders with relief.

The conference room, near the front of the 34-foot long trailer, provides a space where officials can review information and discuss strategies. "We can pull up real-time maps as we operate," Roth said.

The command center includes four stations with both computer and radio systems so responders can coordinate as much as possible. Digital displays of drone imagery is also available.

A camera system provides visual information from all around the vehicle.

With full radio capability, officials can respond to both responders on scene and those coming from other communities.

There is power and internet service available throughout the command center.

"In theory, we can be anywhere and get full internet service," Roth said.

Also impressive is a full-scale lighting system that will light up the emergency site. Roth added the lighting is vital since many emergencies, including search and rescues, occur during late night hours.

"The units added capability for emergency management and many other emergency services agencies will drastically increase our response ability while on larger or extended emergencies by giving the incident commanders a fully functional workspace to manage, maintain, and oversee incidents while having new-age tools available at a moments notice," Roth said.


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