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O’Brien County EMS Gains New Mobile Command Unit

Written by on July 11, 2018

Shane D. Johnson

Emergency Management Director, Jarod Johnson, gave a tour of the newly acquired Mobile Command Unit to the Board of Supervisors on Thursday, June 28. The addition has already been used in Sheldon to assist in treating heat exhaustion and providing cold water during the Christian music festival called “Risefest”.

Jarod Johnson, Director of O’Brien County’s Emergency Management Service, directed a tour of the newly acquired Mobile Command Center to the Board of Supervisors on Thursday, June 28. The tour was delayed due to the Mobile Command Center being in use for the popular Christian music festival Risefest in Sheldon, IA. The equipment allowed crews to treat patients for heat exhaustion and offer frozen water bottles to passersby in need at the event. Johnson described the usefulness and flexibility of the mobile unit, “During Risefest, we had the front set up as an office but after day one, we had lots of heat-related illnesses so we turned the offices into an examination room.”

The mobile unit offers an 8’x 8′ canopy tent for shade. Cots are stored for patients to rest on and there are pull out beds that can be used by patients. The beds are also convenient for those who work at the unit to rest from the heat of the day while in full uniform. The mobility of the unit is increased by including a “back up” camera that allows the emergency response team to see what is behind them while backing into it’s destination. The trailer also includes ladders that will allow a crew of two to gain access to the top of the unit. The trailer is equipped with a 100 gallon fresh water tank that is hooked into a water line for an exterior shower to be used in emergency situations. The trailer runs on a generator that has enough power to be able to run the A/C units, radio devices, lights and all other electronic needs of the response team at once for an extended period of time.

Shane D. Johnson

The mobility of the command center allows emergency crews to be highly effective and efficient. The trailer unit houses two mobile CB radios as well as a T.V. that can be hooked up to a video feed of a drone that can be used to find stranded individuals, allocate resources to specific areas or monitor large crowds of people. The unit also includes external speakers to be able to notify and communicate information in a timely manner. Additionally, the unit can house an ATV in a secure manner. Once the back door is opened fully, the trailer has full pull down screens that can offer protection from bugs while also retaining either heat or A/C, depending upon the conditions at the time of an event. The flooring in the trailer is completely removable so as to remain sanitary for treatment. The walls of the unit are lined with Velcro strips that can be used to handle logistics by displaying maps and other information.

Johnson detailed his vision for the unit’s capabilities in emergency situations, “The goal of this unit was to be something that’s mobile, we can use it as an office. It has some mass care supplies and is something that we can bring to a site, turn it on-if we do have a power connection we can connect to that, if we don’t, we can use the generator. We can operate doing instant command, the operation center, all kinds of stuff.” The Mobile Command Center is a huge improvement for the O’Brien County Emergency Management team and will be put to use in the coming years for all the needs that will arise in the community, from large events to emergency situations.