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Houston Airport System Gets an Edge on Emergency Management with High-Tech Mobile Command Vehicle
With three major airports in the area, Houston, Texas manages one of the largest airport systems in the United States, with more than 55 million passengers served annually. In order to strengthen emergency preparedness efforts, Houston Airports Safety & Emergency Management Division acquired last year a state-of-the-art mobile Incident Command Vehicle that brings the tools and technology of a fully equipped Emergency Operations Center to any sort of major event faced by airport emergency managers. This incident command vehicle will be used to respond to emergency alert conditions on the Air Operations Areas (AOA) at all three Houston Airports; George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) and Ellington Airport (EFD).
“Most airports do have incident command vehicles that are utilized by the fire departments or police,” said Frank Ciaccio, the Houston Airport System’s emergency management coordinator. “What makes this unique is that this is truly Houston airports’ own stand-alone incident command vehicle.”
The 40-foot, 26,000-pound unit was purchased from Motorola Solutions Inc. and is equipped with technology allowing emergency personnel to coordinate communication, asset management and leadership response during a major incident, all compatible with existing airport technology. The unit features a convergence of land mobile radio and both fixed and streaming video utilizing Motorola’s Real Time Intelligent Console technology, MVX In-Car Video system, and the Motobridge gateway. The interior workspace is outfitted with a dozen work stations, with Wi-Fi, cellular and satellite connection capability. A 48’ telescopic mast is equipped with a high-definition camera linked to four external cameras; power is supplied by on-board and backup generators. The unit’s communications systems are linked with the Houston Airport System’s own communications network as well as its Emergency Operations Center database. Information can be shared with Houston Police and Fire, and Texas State Police. The unit also has the capability of uploading video information to the National Transportation Safety Board or to the FBI as needed.
“This vehicle has the tools to make response timely and effective,” Ciaccio told Homeland Preparedness News. “If there is a weather-related emergency and we ever lost our primary mode of communication, this vehicle is capable of being the airports’ single point of contact. It also gives us the flexibility to provide on-scene incident command anywhere at any of our three airports. It allows us to put people in the places they need to be to respond to an emergency situation and not be limited by existing infrastructure.”
Next weekend, the unit will be used to help monitor safety at the Super Bowl in Houston on Feb. 5, providing a back-up to law enforcement for the aviation support operations command.
- People, Places & Things/9-1-1magazine.com (via HPN/flyhouston.com, 1/15/17)