Although there are several companies around the country that manufacture mobile command center trailers and vehicles, in the scheme of things there are not that many of us. That is why our website is so important, because when First Responders start searching for a new command center supplier many of them do what we all do and go online and do a search. Back in early 2021 I got a hit on our website from Chase Hawthorne with the Louisiana State Fire Marshal for that very reason – the Fire Marshal was just starting their search for a mobile command center for their Agency. Little did Chase and I know at that time that later that year on August 29, 2021 Hurricane Ida would make landfall at Port Fourchon, Louisiana as a high-end Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph, the same day as the 16th anniversary of Katrina making landfall in the state. As Chase and I started the conversation and needs analysis of what their requirements were for this new command center, we soon learned that Ida was the “real deal” and it looked like they were going to take a direct hit. We were way too early in the process to even have a quote done yet so there was no way they were going to have a new command center ready in time to utilize for the Ida response. Fortunately, we did have some of our smaller MERC-Lite satcom trailers, PERC Go Kits, and Zumro Air Shelters in stock so we relocated all of this gear to their EOC in Baton Rouge a few days before the Hurricane hit. To help provide technical support, I was able to stay at the EOC and ride out the Hurricane with Chase and his team so after the Hurricane passed through, we were able to work with their team, FEMA, and several other agencies to get comms back up in their building. Through this whole process and since that Hurricane I got to spend a lot of time with Chase and the LA Fire Marshal Team and spend a lot more time in Louisiana. Great group of men and women that work their butt off to keep their State safe.
Fast forward to this week and we are about to finally deliver that new MERC mobile command center. It is a beast – 45 foot gooseneck with two 12 foot slides in a huge conference room with a 12 foot conference room table, 30 Kw diesel generator, 40 foot Fireco pneumatic mast, StarLink satellite, Pepwave BR2 5g LTE 5g dual sim dual modem router with WiFi, Motorola 700/800 radios, Direct TV HD sat dish and off air HD antenna and tuner, Mutualink IWS system, 8×8 video wall with tiling, video camera security system with PTZ on mast head, rack mount UPS, hosted VoIP phones, full kitchenette with microwave, refrigerator, coffee pot, and sink, bathroom with toilet and sink, and tons and tons of storage cabinets.
This unit will be delivered later this month and we look forward to seeing this MERC mobile command center deployed at all future State events. More to come on this project in coming months!