Since CCS opened our doors in 2007 we have been supporting customers at every major Hurricane along the Gulf Coast since Hurricane Ike roared ashore in Galveston on September 13, 2008. CCS had one of our MERC smaller mobile command centers set up in Spring, TX supporting Burlington Northern Railroad as they brought in crews to start cleaning debris off the railroad tracks to get the trains running again for this vital transport line from the refineries along the Gulf Coast. Our role was to provide internet connectivity, land mobile radios, and dial tone for their command center trailer so they could communicate and coordinate resources until normal modes of communication were back up and operational.
One thing we have learned over these past 16+ years of mobile command center deployments and emergency response situations is that you can never have enough work space. Even our larger MERC command center trailers and vehciles that may be 45 feet long are still just a 8X45 area of work space. On a typical disaster response deployment these units will have an IT staff that is responsible for keeping the communication equipment up and operational, there are many times dispatch operators that are communicating with the first responders out in the field and passing along instructions, and then you will have the command staff that is corrdinating the relief efforts both locally and with the State Emergency Operations Center. That is a lot of people in the command center with a lot of activity going on so it can get very crowded and very loud very quickly! The mobile command center is also one of the few work spaces that is climate controlled so on a hot summer day after a Hurricnae has passed through and the humidity is 100% everyone wants to be inside the command center where it is cool. For those of you that have never been on this type of deployment, maybe now you are getting a picture of just how busy and crowded a command center can get.
The onwerhsip at CCS made the decision several years ago to acquire Zumro Air Shelters and this was one of the reasons for this acquisition – to be able to provide custom work space that could be deployed with a command center to expand on the footprint that the mobile command center provides. What was especially attractive about Zumro was that their shelters use 100% inflatable air beam technology (no poles or metal support structure) so they are vesy easy to set up and store and require minimal space during transport. Prior to the purchase, CCS had already been working with Zumro on a custom shelter for our MERC-Lite small tactical satcom trailer. The 10X10X8 Zumro shelter has a custom boot that allows the shelter to attach and secure around the rear of the MERC-Lite mobile command center trailer and provide access to all three 21u IT racks from inside the shelter. The 12Kw diesel generator is able to provide power for all the electronics and two 14,000 BTU AC units with heaters that climate control the shelter. The Zumro unit is small enough that when it is deflated it can be stored in the middle storage compartment of the MERC unit or on the roof of the trailer.
MERC Lite with Zumro Air Shelter
In addition to the smaller Zumro Air Shelter for the MERC-Lite command centers, Zumro also manufactures much larger shelters that can be attahced to a larger command center or set up beside the unit. The things that we consider when we design these configurations is how much work space does the customer require, how will the space be used, how much power is required to power the additional space with HVAC, and where will it be stored. This is becoming a more common practice with First Responders now as they design their solutions for their response and relief efforts. The great thing about the Zumro shelters is that they can be quickly reconfigured for multiple tasks -from work space, to eating quarters, to sleeping quarters, to medical response unit, etc.. They can also be added to older exisiting mobile command centers to enhance their capabilities. From a cost standpoint, this is a fairly inexpensive way to add a good deal of additional work space without having to build out a much larger command center.
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