JOLIET – The Will County Emergency Management Agency has taken delivery of a 46-foot mobile emergency command and communications vehicle.
The vehicle was built by Farber Specialty Vehicles in Columbus, Ohio, using a Freightliner chassis, Cummins diesel engine and Allison automatic transmission. It is 13 feet, 6 inches tall and weighs 42,260 pounds. It arrived June 23.
Will County Executive Larry Walsh said the command center will benefit all corners of the County. “The vehicle will serve as a mobile command post for major emergencies, as well as large public events. It can also serve as a back-up dispatch center in communications emergencies.
“We’re pleased to have this state-of-the-art command center to aid our residents’ safety should the need arise.”
Harold Damron, EMA Director, said the mobile unit has work spaces for 10 command personnel, three spots capable of handling 9-1-1 calls and one additional position for amateur radio and aircraft communications. It contains 16 radios which can be computer-controlled by any work station in the van.
The vehicle has two 20 kilowatt diesel generators, each of which can power the vehicle for about 48 hours before refueling, Damron said.
Damron explained that it was a years-long process to obtain the new vehicle. His office originally applied for a Homeland Security grant for the vehicle in the fall of 2008. That grant and other federal funds paid for the entire cost of the vehicle. The 9-1-1-related equipment was funded by the Will County 9-1-1 System.
While other counties have command centers, Will County’s new vehicle is a rarity.
“There are other mobile command centers elsewhere in our area and around the state, but only a handful in the state that provide this level of capability,” said Damron. “As one of the largest counties in the country, we have incidents that call for this type of capability.”
The Emergency Management Agency is under the County Executive’s office. For additional information about the agency, go to www.willcountyema.org. or its Facebook page.
The command center will be on display during the Thursday, July 19, Will County Board meeting.