Mobile incident command vehicle visits Team Dover

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Aaron J. Jenne
  • 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Kent County emergency responders visited Team Dover emergency responders with their mobile incident command vehicle Sept. 22, 2016, at Dover AFB.

Three members from Kent County first toured the 436th Airlift Wing Command Post, emergency operations center and crisis action team facilities before providing tours of their mobile incident command vehicle, which functions as a temporary on-scene EOC. They parked the vehicle at the command post and later moved it to the 436th Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department to allow more than 50 members of Team Dover’s emergency responders to tour the facility.

“It’s important that we get opportunities like this,” said Tech. Sgt. Jerry Ivey, 436th AW Command Post NCO in charge of training. “We’ve had a longstanding partnership with Kent County emergency responders, but any partnership requires understanding. The better we can understand their capabilities and they can understand ours, the stronger our partnership will be. Our goal is to provide the best service possible to Team Dover, both inside and outside the fence.”

Kent County purchased the mobile incident command vehicle in 2004, but they did not settle for the condition of the vehicle. Nearly $1 million worth of upgrades have been added to the vehicle during the past 12 years.

The vehicle can establish command and control anywhere in the state. The onboard equipment allows dispatchers to communicate with anyone in the Delmarva Peninsula, dispatch emergency agencies via pagers or text messages and to coordinate emergency response from anywhere on the peninsula.

“We can do everything from this vehicle that we would do at our emergency operations center,” said Kevin Sibble, Kent County Department of Public Safety assistant director. “We have this facility and we want to make sure everyone knows it’s available, so if there’s a situation where it’s needed you’ll have access to it.”

The mobile unit may not be something emergency responders would use for routine incidents, but in a moment’s notice, it will be ready to establish control over any situation.

Emergency response is similar to a wheel, in which the spokes are the emergency responders and the hub is the EOC. If either the spokes aren’t connected to the hub or the hub isn’t balanced, the wheel is bound to fail. Likewise, if emergency responders aren’t directed from an EOC, their coordination and effectiveness are severely limited. Success is determined by many of the working parts, but at the center firmly sits the EOC.

There is also an additional benefit to having the EOC at the center of a large event, Sibble said. The more quickly and reliably the information can get to the hub, the faster it can be relayed to the appropriate units, providing a real-time network of information passed back and forth to establish control over an emergency.

To date, the mobile incident control vehicle has been predominately used as a precautionary measure at large events like NASCAR races at Dover International Speedway.

Ivey said Team Dover intends to make use of its capabilities during the upcoming Air Show slated for August 2017. The team also took comfort in learning this platform was at their disposal in the event of an off-base emergency such as an aircraft crash, or a loss of facilities on-base.

“If we have an incident off base, maybe with an aircraft, we can expect the support of our community,” Ivey said. “If we need to set up a mobile command center, we can give them a call and they’ll be there. We can put our emergency responders and on-scene commander in there and they’ll have full capability, just like they would in our facilities on-base. That’s pretty impressive for a mobile center. Likewise, if something happened here, where we lost primary command and control, this is something we could use to keep the mission going without missing a beat.”

To Ivey, this partnership is key for success of the wing’s mission and for the good of the community as well.

“Back when I joined [the military] in the mid 90’s, all the military bases were self-sufficient, Ivey said. “We took care of everything inside the gates in-house. We’ve learned from that over the years. Now we rely on outside agencies, and they rely on us. Knowing what their capabilities are, and them knowing what our capabilities are really expands our ability to work together.”

Progress is a never-ending endeavor, though, and both Team Dover and Kent County intend to continue building upon the foundation that’s already there.

“I thought this was great training for everybody involved,” Ivey said. “It was great to get a chance to see these facilities when we aren’t in an emergency, when we have the time to go through it, look at the setup and ask questions. For many of my Airmen, this was their first time seeing a mobile EOC. We got the opportunity to learn about its capabilities and how civilians conduct command and control. We can’t wait for our next chance to train with Kent County.”