[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                     January 28, 2011

Emergency Services gets new vehicle

Story and photo by Rob Schuette, Public Affairs Staff

The Fort McCoy Directorate of Emergency Services (DES) has a new mobile command unit (MCU) to support its emergency operations needs.

Ted Richmond, an assistant fire chief, said the vehicle replaces one that was used for both emergency operations and rescue purposes.

PHOTO: Deputy Fire Chief Adam Ballard and Firefighter Donald Klimeck test the communications equipment on the new mobile command unit. Photo by Rob Schuette
Deputy Fire Chief Adam Ballard and Firefighter Donald Klimeck test the communications equipment on the new mobile command unit.

The DES now can consider obtaining a vehicle to be used solely for rescue operations.

“The MCU can do all the functions that are done in the DES buildings during an emergency situation,” Richmond said. “It’s mobile so it can maneuver away from known threats and still operate and provide the same emergency services that the DES would.”

All of the latest communications technology is available on or inside the MCU. Richmond said this includes an external video camera that has zoom and tilting capabilities to allow personnel inside the vehicle 360-degree observation of the outer environment.

The MCU’s satellite dish allows occupants to monitor the local television stations and the outside video. In addition to regular TV monitors, a 42-inch plasma television with a SMART Board allows personnel to create maps or other documents about emergency situations, for example, print and send them to other external recipients. This could serve as an excellent information or briefing tool during an emergency situation, he said.

Telephone and radio connectivity to the installation’s system will allow vehicle occupants to monitor radio stations and to send and receive radio communications/transmissions through the post’s radio system.

A connection to the Fort McCoy Internet backbone allows relay of information via that option, as well, Richmond said.

All MCU functions are accomplished electronically, and nothing has to be done by hand. This includes engaging an outside canopy to provide weather protection, if necessary, he said.

The MCU can be used to support the installation’s DES mutual-aid agreements to support local fire departments and law-enforcement agencies, for example.

Richmond said the MCU will be an invaluable tool.

“No one in the local area has this equipment so it will upgrade the emergency communications options throughout the region,” Richmond said. “You have to go to Eau Claire or Madison to find similar equipment.”

David Biondi, Fort McCoy fire chief, said the MCU will be a great on-scene asset during emergencies.

“If we can’t operate out of the DES facilities, we can use this vehicle to handle our operations,” Biondi said. “It has its own generator, or can be plugged into a power source to provide the power it needs to operate.”

“The MCU will allow DES to respond immediately to any local emergency or catastrophic event, set up an Incident/Area Command and have full emergency-communications and operational capability in minutes,” he said. “The days of trying to coordinate a full emergency response over the hood of a vehicle are over. Time is of the essence in saving lives and preserving property, and this vehicle will allow us to coordinate and obtain critical assets from federal, state, and local agencies.”

The 40-foot-long vehicle is leased from the General Services Administration and is maintained by the Installation Materiel Maintenance Facility or through external maintenance contracts, Biondi said.

For more information about the MCU, call DES at 608-388-2508.

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