chose to place and operate on the vehicle. What was
also great about MBF is that everything was installed
at their factory. They were great to work with
because of their experience with all of the systems,
and they answered all our concerns and questions.”
The new command post was designed with current operability options and future expansion needs
were also investigated and installed on the unit. The
vehicle is broken down into three distinct areas: area
1, communications in the front portion manned by
three operators; area 2, middle security check in and
portable radio cache; and area 3, rear command area
that seats 12 people, which has three slide-out areas
that expand to make the space larger.
“Interiorwise, we have a CAD system, fully inte-
grated UHF, and low band and very-high frequency
radios,” Vetter says. “We have video downlink
transmission and reception capabilities and WIFI
and Bluetooth-enabled systems. Local radio ops
cause us to be able to dispatch and tone out any
department in the county.”
The vehicle has IT-based cameras onboard that
can transmit remotely to anyone anywhere. One
area that is a plus for the department is that it can
merge all frequencies into a single appropriate tacti-
cal channel that helps a great deal with interopera-
bility on the incident scene. Also on the vehicle is a
subscription-based weather system, hazmat recovery
software, and plotter printers.
The vehicle has an endless number of phones that
can be plugged into the system, with the capabil-
ity of tapping into local utility companies as well as
local cable TV outlets with Internet cable and phone
services. “We can also basically take any iPhone and
turn it into an 800-MHz radio,” Vetter adds.
Another unique capability is that while the
vehicle is operating, personnel can hear and see
with cameras everything that is going on outside
the truck with recording capability. “Our system
shares an IT-based network mutual link with the
governor’s Office of Emergency Management as
well, and we can tap into other resources state and
federal in nature,” Vetter says.
The vehicle has two 30-watt generators that
support different areas of the truck. Generator A
supports the vehicle itself and Generator B supports
all other areas. There are two extendable masts for
cameras and antennas. The department had extra
wiring built in for future use for an additional long
range antenna when additional funding becomes
available; the antenna in use now is for a 20-mile
range for helicopter use. “Right now, we are only
at a 50 percent capacity of various switches and
controls on the unit—plenty of room for future
technology,” Vetter says.
The front of the truck has an extended front
bumper to put a raised platform on for press
conferences; the rear also has an extended bumper
to protect the masts. The operation of the vehicle is
firefighter friendly, which makes the operation easy.
Support people are trained to operate all the IT
sources. “We have 18 monitors that can be customized to whatever we deem important,” Vetter says.
“The vehicle usually responds with two minimum
from our communications center, with other operators being paged out meeting the unit at a scene
and operating from there.”
One of two radio communication consoles in the front of the vehicle.
Radio, satellite communications, repeater, computer,
and IT equipment rack.
Suffolk County FRES Communications
The Fire Rescue Communications Section (COMMs) is an enhanced 911
facility that handles fire and EMS calls in addition to dispatching services
for emergency response. The staff must initially be certified by New York
State as emergency medical technicians and maintain national certification as emergency medical dispatchers and emergency fire dispatchers.
The staff also operates the county’s mobile command vehicles in conjunction with the Fire Marshal’s Office. The department also dispatches for 52
out of 109 fire departments and for various volunteer EMS units on Long
Island serving 1. 5 million residents.