By Laura Ann Sills - email
COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Communication is key, especially during an emergency. When multiple agencies respond to one incident they are normally running off of diverse radio systems, meaning communication can be spotty.
Director of Columbus Emergency Management, Riley Land, said, "Every incident that we have ever received and read anything about the first complaint is lack of communication, so this bridges that gap."
It is called the Mobile Command Vehicle. And, thanks to federal grant money, it has a new satellite system that acts as a wireless host site. Responding officers can use the high speed Internet up to 600 feet away from the bus.
The RV is also capable of allowing agencies that use differing types of radios to talk back and forth through analog to digital conversion. It also has the capability of radio communication with people on the water, on land, and in the air.
Land spent Wednesday wiring the RV for its new satellite and said, "It gives the planners and the chiefs that support instead of working off the trunks of cars, which we used to do in the rain, heat and cold.
The Columbus Fire and EMS Chief, Jeff Meyer, knows firsthand the importance of this vehicle. "We can put all the players at one conference table, work on our operations plans. What we are doing now and what we are going to do the next operation period," explained Meyer.
Land said, "To have immediate and direct access to a lot of information that they normally would not have had before. Good information makes good decisions."
A team of local emergency workers took the mobile command vehicle to Mississippi to help after hurricane Katrina. It also housed officials during the Bibb Mill Fire and kept Communication open after the tornado that hit North Columbus in 2008.