In order to be successful, a Mobile Command Center needs to meet the needs of different groups and come with features for a variety of different scenarios. It’s also important that the mobile command vehicle is versatile enough for any emergency situation.
Mobile command centers are specifically designed to be mobile and include emergency response communication devices such as radios, phones, computers, and laptops. The small size of these mobile command centers also allows for quick mobilization and the ability to be easily transported by truck or plane
What is a Mobile Command Center?
The Mobile Command Vehicle is a mobile structure with a roof of 12 to 20 feet, fully equipped with computers, video monitors, and radios for the purpose of receiving and routing emergency call information from citizens. Inside this vehicle, there are also facilities for storing tools or equipment needed by the firefighters at an incident site.
During response operations, the Mobile Command Vehicle will be used by a shift captain to coordinate actions from various installations. The MV also provides topographical information regarding locations as well as directions for firefighters moving within an incident site.
Here are some of the basic features of a mobile command vehicle:
Command Center – Typically located at the front and center of the vehicle, this features multiple workstations where key personnel can coordinate all efforts during an emergency or disaster response situation.
First Responder – This niche is used to store first-responder equipment, as well as any important critical information. It may also be equipped with some form of a communication device for rapid response to emergencies.
Medical Supplies – This area will contain medical supplies and equipment, as well as any emergency medications that the vehicle’s crew should carry.
Evacuation – This area will include evacuation kits and any personal protective equipment that the crew should carry with them in case of a hazardous situation.
Incident Command – This feature allows for a centralized schematic of the response plan to be viewed by all involved parties.
Communications/Command – This area of the vehicle will allow for centralized communication functions, as well as command over local law enforcement, public safety, and emergency services personnel. It may also include specialized equipment to assist with a radio/communications blackout. In most regions, this is also where all emergency response plans are housed.
Food, Water, and Sleep – This area contains bunk beds, a kitchenette, and a shower for the crew to restock their energy levels during a long response effort.
Data Center – This feature of the vehicle provides a location for computers, phones, and satellite systems for communication with surrounding units or command centers.
What are the Uses of a Mobile Command Vehicle?
A mobile command center, also known as a mobile command post or mobile headquarters, is an apparatus for field operations comprising various military and non-military functions. Mobile Command Centers are designed to provide a central location to execute coordination functions and as a flexible location that can be moved according to operational requirements.
Mobile command centers are typically deployed to any areas where an event that requires a mobile command center has occurred. The center then serves as a hub for coordinating – and liaising with other agencies such as FEMA, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, local authorities, and other services – during the crisis so that all of these agencies can work together to ensure the evacuation or sheltering of citizens is smooth.
Mobile Command Centers and Disaster Response
The word “disaster” is a broad term that could probably apply to any natural or man-made incident, such as a terrorist attack, an earthquake, or a hurricane. In these types of situations, mobile command centers are put in place at designated centers for emergency responders who can communicate via mobile devices.
Mobile command centers provide information and instructions in real-time and opportunities for action. These mobile command centers include a variety of navigation devices, emergency response, and communication equipment, as well as information centers for the public.
Mobile command centers serve both as a dispatch center and an emergency operations center (EOC). The EOC is wired with internet capabilities to centralize communication between parish agencies and the National Weather Service. If the post-disaster situation requires emergency support from the National Guard, they will be alerted through the command center. Mobile command centers are typically set up to operate 6 to 14 days after a disaster. After this time frame, state and local agencies will transition their operations into more permanent facilities.