When disaster strikes, a mobile command center (MCC) can help restore communications to areas that need it the most.
From internet service and data access to hosted VoIP and SIP services for two-way voice communication, these platforms enable connectivity, even in the wake of natural disasters, demonstrations, bomb threats or other critical events.
In times of crisis, they help users relay important messages. These centers can also serve as meeting points for strategy discussions and tactical operations.
Are you in the market for a new MCC solution? If so, it’s important to do your research, first. There are several components and considerations that set a top performer apart from the rest.
Today, we’re discussing the 10 most important features of a modern MCC. Ready to learn more? Let’s get started.
1. Climate Control
Communication needs don’t cease to exist when it’s uncomfortable outside. As such, a reliable MCC will come equipped with a climate-controlled interior. This way, users can still access the systems they need, for as long as they need, though weather conditions may be less than favorable.
Keep in mind that the MCC will likely be stationed at a remote site, often for extended periods. It must be capable of sustaining a comfortable work environment. Climate control also helps ensure that all mission-critical communication systems can run at a safe temperature.
Most MCCs will require some form of an on-scene power source. Most come equipped with an on-board diesel generator, which can run from 8 kW to 30 kW.
These will mount to the mobile command center trailer in a vented, insulated compartment, and you’ll often find them near the rear of the vehicle. In many cases, you’ll find the generator compartment under the interior seating or storage, placed there to minimize any interior noise.
3. Mobile Communications
Without communication equipment, a mobile command post becomes ineffective. Depending on your budget and expected use, you can find MCCs with a range of telecommunications capabilities.
At its most basic, an MCC should provide some form of telephone access via a preassigned number. Most standard systems rely on a Private Branch Exchange (PBX) system with landline and cellular capability. Also, it should facilitate access to radio and audio/visual (A/V) technology.
4. Satellite System
Besides fundamental communication equipment, top-tier MCC solutions also feature a VSAT auto-acquire satellite system that enables the center to provide network access to even the most remote areas.
This means users can access the internet to stay abreast on the latest news and hear important weather updates. A satellite also reassures users that they will always have a way to communicate, even if other normal communication resources fail or go out of service.
LTE Network Connectivity
While satellite network connectivity is already a step ahead of basic MCC telecommunications, the most advanced and future-focused models also include access to the Public or Private 4G and LTE network.
Across the country, first responders can leverage this capability as an alternative to connecting over the satellite network or Public LTE network. If this option is available on your trailer, the MCC will include LTE routers and repeaters that allow users to access and expand the signal as needed.
5. Interior Lighting
Look for an MCC that leverages an eco-friendly and effective resource for interior illumination, such as LED lighting.
With longer lifespans and lower energy costs, these bulbs are both dependable and hard-working. This is a combination you need when you’re at the helm of such an important and time-sensitive platform that often requires nighttime operations.
6. Adequate Storage
A well-organized MCC is an efficient one. Rather than having paperwork, hardware, and accessories cluttering up workspaces, it’s helpful to install storage components that allow users to stash them away out of sight.
From metal overhead storage cabinets to equipment cabinets and racks, there are many options available. Make use of this space to keep your environment as neat and functional as possible.
7. Bathroom and Kitchenette
Especially if you plan to have dispatchers onboard, interior bathrooms are a must.
During your search of the mobile communications vehicles available, you may find that some include bathrooms accessible from the exterior only, while others don’t include a bathroom at all and bring in portables instead.
While these options are valid in their own right, having a bathroom accessible from the interior that anyone can access is a major benefit to consider.
Along those same lines, keep in mind that MCC could be in active use for months or longer. As such, it becomes a home away from home for many users. This is where a kitchenette comes into play.
While you don’t need a commercial setup, look for a space that allows you to store and prepare food as necessary. This way, everyone, including emergency dispatchers, can stay hydrated and alert.
8. Pneumatic Mast
An MCC includes a variety of antenna types, making a pneumatic mast a requirement. Ranging from 30 feet to 80 feet tall, these masts extend antenna ranges much farther than roof-mounted versions can reach.
Also, the mast, which includes removable antenna arms, creates a platform where users can mount antennas for the following kinds of equipment:
- Land mobile radios and repeaters
- Cellular extender antennas
- Wireless LAN/WAN antennas
- Weather station equipment
- Television antennas
- HAM radio antennas
- Video surveillance equipment
9. Conference Setups
As mentioned, emergency personnel rely on MCCs to hold impromptu meetings where they can discuss strategy. The most ideal environment for these discussions is a conference room.
Your MCC should include a conference room table and enough chairs to house the teams you’re anticipating. In some cases, you can find trailers equipped with slide-outs that provide extra interior space and under-flooring exterior storage.
10. Multiple Workstations
Make it easy for users to have immediate access to the systems they need by setting up individual workstations. Depending on the size and scale of MCC you decide to deploy, these workstations can include LED televisions, computers, touchscreen tablets and more.
Also, look for MCC trailers that are specific to your industry, as these will have workstation setups and other amenities designed around your niche. For instance, a crime scene unit will include fingerprint stations, video surveillance cameras, and evidence storage compartments, among other systems.
Find Your New Mobile Command Center Today
Now that you know the 10 features that set a top-performing mobile command center apart from the competition, are you ready to find the perfect one for your needs?
This is where we come in.
We develop robust communication packages for MCCs, allowing first responders the ability to connect like never before. We’ve integrated our systems into a full line of MERC mobile power and communication trailers that meet all the above-listed criteria. From the lightest and smallest platforms to the largest and most advanced, we’ve got it all.
Contact us today to learn more about what we offer and let’s take this next step together.