EMA examines MCC project

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Putnam County has been picked to host a new mobile command center, but local officials are waiting to work out some of the particulars of the project.

The new state-funded vehicle was the main topic of discussion during the county Emergency Man-agement Agency meeting Thursday at the courthouse annex.

Director Kim Hyten also informed the board that the county is eligible for $17,902 for enhancing GIS capabilities in Indiana, along with $450,000 for the district mobile command center project.

Hyten said he met with the three hazmat teams in the county -- Greencastle Fire Department, Bainbridge Community Volunteer Fire Department and Cloverdale Township Volunteer Fire Department -- to see who had the capabilities to house and maintain the vehicle. GFD sent a letter stating it has the ability to house the vehicle, as well as maintain it.

But one of Hyten's concerns was in having one department provide all the equipment for the vehicle, which is intended to be used by all 10 counties in the district. His proposal was to find out the number of emergency service crews in each county and see if they could contribute to a fund to pay for the equipment.

"There are still quite a few concerns," said Hyten. "I think the state needs to bring all of the 10 counties that receive this into a meeting. We need to hash some of this out."

Board member Tom Helmer expressed his concerns on how the public might perceive having two command centers in the county. The county has its own command center, the former library bookmobile, which will be housed in Bainbridge.

Hyten explained that the Bainbridge unified command/rehab center was something that could be utilized on any occurrence that is requested. The MCC is not a rehab center, but the counties and the state needs to create protocols on what the vehicle will respond to.

Steve Walters said that the district MCC would be used for "a major disaster or big major incident."

But it will not be dispatched every week and will be for District Seven and a back-up for neighboring District Five.

Another concern Hyten had was state reimbursement for every time the vehicle rolled out and needed maintenance.

Before the board goes further into the project, Hyten said he wants to sit down with state officials to decide the protocols for the vehicle.

In other business, the board:

-- Learned that the radios from the law enforcement grant were handed out and hazmat equipment from the 2005 Homeland grant still need to be distributed to three county fire departments. Hyten said he will schedule another training session on the gas meters for those departments, as well as hand out the equipment.

-- Learned only one county fire department filled out the necessary paperwork to use the fit-tester, a respiratory inspection program. Walters said that each department needs to adopt a proposal, appoint someone to oversee the record keeping, fill out a medical questionnaire and be fit-tested wearing the equipment. Hyten said he would send out an e-mail that the departments only have 45 days to fill out the paperwork or they will have to go somewhere else to be fit-tested.

-- Learned that the state sent the board two notices on a courthouse security grant. The first notice said the county was eligible for $50,000, and the second said the state had ran out of money. With the grant, the board is looking to purchase equipment such as cameras throughout the building, especially the larger rooms.

-- Learned that NIMCAST was complete for the county thanks to Karen Wells of the planning department. Also learned that Hyten is trying to get two people in the county to be trained on NIMS 300, so that they can train the rest of the county.

-- Learned that the county schools have received radios to notify them of emergency situations. Hyten talked with Dan Bain of South Putnam about making sure multiple people had blueprints of the school building in case of an emergency. Most of the county schools use only one-door entrances for visitors, and many have started using video cameras and intercoms.

The next meeting is 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 7 in the courthouse annex.

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