Members of Starke County’s Local Emergency Planning Committee are focused on getting the incident command trailer back in working order. When they met Wednesday afternoon, they discussed how the trailer is structurally fine but it’s currently not functional.
Officials report that it does not have power and they believe that the generator needs a new battery to alleviate the issue. There is some money remaining in the EMA Department’s maintenance fund that will be utilized to purchase a new battery.
Right now, the trailer is sitting out on the County Highway Department’s property. LEPC members noted that it should be moved to an area where it will be more accessible so officials can continue to work on it as needed and it will be close by when an emergency strikes.
EMS Director Travis Clary mentioned that it used to be stored next to the EMS Base and it could be placed there again. He added that he has a security camera available that can be set up to watch the spot where it would be situated.
Members suggested putting some gravel down to keep it from sinking into the grass and to limit damage to the yard. He said he will consult with the county commissioners to make sure that it would be permissible.
Another problem is that the trailer has the wrong kind of communication equipment for its intended use. While it has a plethora of HAM radios, it is not equipped with radios that responders would be able to use in case of an emergency.
EMA Director J. Nier said that there was one 800 MHz (megahertz) radio in the trailer but it isn’t programmed with “P25” which is the standard designed for use by public safety organizations.
Nier said she’s done some research and it would cost approximately $1,000 to $2,500 to get that specific radio flushed and to have the necessary programming installed. However, she’s investigating some other options where they may be able to have it done less expensively.
Additionally, Nier said she’ll check to see if a portion of the $10,000 LEPC Grant that the organization received for equipment can be utilized for some additional radios for the trailer.
Meanwhile, a few members said they’ll take a look at what surrounding counties have to see what type of extra features and equipment would be useful as they work to revive Starke County’s mobile emergency command center.