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Mobile EOC Makes Disaster Relief Readily Available for Rural Iowa
IOWA CITY, IA (CBS2/FOX28) -- During this most recent round of flooding, first responders organized out of the Emergency Operations Center in Johnson County, giving them a central spot to coordinate and work, but that's a luxury that many of Iowa's rural communities do not have.
But with its satellites, radios, and giant monitors, the Mobile Emergency Operations Center (MEOC) -- a federally funded, $600,000 trailer, run by the Air National Guard -- allows rural places the ability to react to disasters in a similar way.
"We roll in, assist the incident commander with establishing command and control of the situation, " said CMS Gary Lang, the MEOC Installation Emergency Manager.
The trailer is packed with emergency essentials, including a rotating camera mounted on the top. It can broadcast the scene of a disaster outside to the incident commander inside the trailer, so crews can respond in a coordinated way.
"And we can allow them access to view what is going on in a particular location," Lang said.
For instance, Lang said, they could position the MEOC along the Iowa River, and coordinate multiple zones with that one camera.
This month's flooding was the first test for the stationary EOC in Johnson County, which Emergency Management Agency Director Dave Wilson said worked very well.
"But if you're a Cedar County or a small county like Iowa, you might not have anything. And so, the Air Guard's Mobile EOC that you saw today is a great asset for those smaller counties throughout Iowa," Wilson said.
And that asset makes a big difference for a small town "that might not have any place to bring all the partners together, get a situational awareness of the event that's unfolding, make strategic planning and enable that communication that's critical for the event," he said.
The MEOC doesn't just serve Iowa, but all of FEMA District 7, which includes Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri.