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The City Journals

West Valley City Has a New Mobile Emergency Coordination Center

Jan 04, 2016 03:11PM ● By Bryan Scott

By Rachel Hall

West Valley - The time to prepare is before disaster strikes. That is why West Valley City has a new mobile emergency coordination center.

“This can replace the entire operation of the city out of this trailer,” West Valley City Fire Department chief John Evans said. “It’s a back up – not as big – of the emergency operations center in city hall.”

The 50-foot trailer is a self-contained workspace, which includes eight work stations, a small conference room, a restroom facility and storage.

“Sometimes in emergency incidents, it’s easier to be close to the incident with the management of it,” Evans said. “We can make sure we are providing the emergency services in a disaster [with this mobile unit].”

It runs on a generator and carries its own water and waste. The computer system is hooked up through aircards to WiFi. Two touch screen panels display the information from the computer screen, or decision makers can watch local and national news to stay updated on an emergency situation.

Evans saw a need for something similar to the mobile unit a few years ago. He started pricing units and found that they typically cost between $150 to $260 thousand. Instead, a trailer was purchased out of Indiana, and the mobile unit was crafted with the help of the fleet department for a total of $62 thousand.

“We never could have done it without the fleet department,”  Evans said. “We were able to do it cost effectively.”

What we need to stress is that we have some resiliency and backup in case of a disaster or large incident, according to Evans.

“That’s one of the first things when planning for a disaster. If something happens, then what do you do? Nobody can predict what is going to happen in a disaster or emergency,” he said. “This is a city resource.”