2008 Command, Control, and Communications Vehicle Rally

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W9BU

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When we built our command post, we got the dispatchers involved at the planning stage. Their number one request was their own room with a door that closed and that it be at the back of the CP, away from the noise.
I have been inside mobile command posts for MECA (Marion County, Indiana) and the Hendricks County, Indiana, Sheriff's Department. Both of them have a briefing/conference room at the back of the vehicle separate from the radio operators. These "back rooms" have their own outside doors so the command personnel can go in and out without bothering the radio operators.

The downside, in my opinion, of both of these vehicles is that the radio operator positions are all in one room with no attempt at separating them from each other. You'd have to use headphones, which I did not see, to not be disturbed by activity from the other operating positions.

One thing I noticed on one of these vehicles was that just about every vertical surface in the "radio room" was covered with whiteboard material. That made it very easy for radio operators or command personnel to jot down notes that everyone needed to see, such as what talkgroups were being used or the locations of key control points at the emergency site.
 

SAR923

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Sounds like the folks in your area did at least some planning to give the dispatchers a break. Our command post had two dispatch positions, separated by a fabric covered wall. Don't know the correct term for it but it was like an office cubicle. Our dispatchers wore headsets and the only radio traffic allowed in the CP was the admin channel. All radios not on admin had to be turned off. It's way to easy to get sucked into what's happening in the field if you're monitoring operation channels and you're supposed to be IC staff. The dispatchers had computers with CAD that was networked to the computers in the briefing and ops sections. They could message us about anything that needed immediate attention or contact us on the admin channel. We really discouraged the use of white boards. They seem very convenient and, at times, they are, but we tried to capture everything in the computer system since things on white boards get lost too easily with one swipe of an eraser. We tried to get one of those white boards that would print the contents out on paper but even the DHS money dump truck wouldn't pay for that. :)
 

K2GW

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Is it just me or are we spending an inordinate amount of money on these "toys"? You could easily cut the number needed in half just by having areawide agreements on command post usage. Every agency wants the latest, hottest equipment but we're rarely, if ever, going to have an emergency that requires all those command posts to be in service at once. Ever since 9/11, the DHS dumptruck full of money has been financing this kind of show equipment and I don't think it's making us one bit safer.
Yup, and in DC they'll now need a special Command Vehicle to control the parking assignments of all of the other command vehicles at a response.

It's a parallel situation in my township where we have only one building higher than five stories, but every one of the seven volunteer fire fire companies needs it own 70 foot ladder truck and snorkel. But they sure look good when they get to take them to other fire company's parades ;-)

73

Gary, K2GW
 

Spleen

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SAR2401,

Ours came with a Smartboard...it attaches right to the big LCD screen that normally shows outside views, video feeds, CNN, etc. At first I suspected that it was a colossal waste of cash, but it really has turned out to be multipurpose and quite useful. They fixed it up so the interface cables feed into the floor under the removable table in the rear (briefing) area so no one trips. I installed the software on a few of the Toughbooks that came with the truck, just in case someone walks off with the "dedicated" Toughbook, and since the multifunction printer and the plotter are network-fed, anything produced can be sent to either printer (handouts vs. a highlighted or drawn-on map). And, with a Smartboard, you've turned your vehicle into a mobile training room, especially if you're training personnel on the various systems and applications specific to the vehicle and its network.

You might hear ads for the Smartboards on the radio, so the price must have come down to a reasonable consumer level, but I don't know what they paid for ours off the top of my head.
 
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af5rn

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They could have bought a few more of these useless things with the money they wasted in fuel going to this dog and pony show.
 

SAR923

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They could have bought a few more of these useless things with the money they wasted in fuel going to this dog and pony show.
That too but the whole point of most of the mobile CP's is to take them places and have people go WOW! as they walk through. I'd be really interested to know how many of these things have ever been used on a real multi-agency incident. I especially like the wide assorment of lightbars, LED lights, and strobes these things have. I can't think of one time our mobile CP responded code 3 to any incident.
 

SAR923

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Yup, and in DC they'll now need a special Command Vehicle to control the parking assignments of all of the other command vehicles at a response.

73

Gary, K2GW
Now that's funny. Can you just see a CP with a big 'EMERGENCY PARKING CONTROL" decal on the side?
 

SAR923

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Spleen,
Those Smartboards were over five grand when we were specing out our CP and sheriff finally put his foot down on that. One woud have been really useful to have though and I'm sorry we didn't get one. OTOH, I'll bet we had near five grand in warning lights, PA's, and sirens mounted on the darn thing. The only light that got turned on in real life was the green CP strobe but the rest looked impressive in parades, just like those VFD trucks.
 

Spleen

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One lesson our agency learned...always consult IT and Radio Depts. when you have Engineering spec out a truck. Ours showed up with every possible radio and comm product you could want...except, of course, for the radio systems our agency and our parent department actually use.
 

Utah_Viper

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Utah_Viper

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Just what will this new software do that other software does not?
It links similar photos into a mosaic type sequence you can navigate through. hard to really explain, just have a look at the photosynth site and it has more details. As to these pictures there was one sequence of about 10 photos, then about 6 other smaller groups.
 

KB3JUV

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Anyone can get into the show, it normally is not advertised openly in the public so normally you have to know someone to know where it will be located and what date it will be held. Fairfax County Government normally posts it on their emergency management homepage.
 

wwhitby

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Is it just me or are we spending an inordinate amount of money on these "toys"? You could easily cut the number needed in half just by having areawide agreements on command post usage. Every agency wants the latest, hottest equipment but we're rarely, if ever, going to have an emergency that requires all those command posts to be in service at once. Ever since 9/11, the DHS dumptruck full of money has been financing this kind of show equipment and I don't think it's making us one bit safer.
I agree 100% Jim. A good example of our tax dollars at work.

Warren
 
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