By Tech. Sgt. David Speicher, 175th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published January 08, 2012
BALTIMORE -- The Maryland Air National Guard is ready to assist in a major disaster.
The unit recently acquired a Mobile Emergency Operations Center which is designed to support civilian entities in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Delaware.
"The MEOC is used as a highly capable on scene command center to project information to senior officials of whichever agency/jurisdiction we are supporting," said Senior Master Sgt. Matthew Crabill, Readiness Emergency Management Superintendent, 175th Civil Engineering Squadron.
The trailer is an Air National Guard emergency management asset that could be used with either military personnel or civilian emergency responders. It is available for natural disaster, aircraft mishap, defense support to civil agency, civil disturbance, terrorism, weapons of mass destruction and special events.
The MEOC has satellite internet with six work stations and a conference area with video conferencing. In addition the disaster trailer has a VOIP phone system, UHF and VHF radios, a radio interoperability system, satellite television, a weather station and a long range on scene camera.
The trailer is 36 feet long and must be towed to its location. It can connect to shore power or operate off its own generator for three to five days. According to Crabill, "(We are) awaiting new communication equipment and a tow vehicle to become fully operational and a self-sustaining asset."
A brochure detailing the capabilities of the MEOC states that from its inception, the Air National Guard and its members have been there for their community. Whether the disaster is natural or man-made the Air National Guard Emergency Management force remains able and willing to respond. With the addition of the Mobile Emergency Operations Center, the Air National Guard will provide a new capability that proves the citizen militia is ready, reliable and relevant.
The trailer is stored on base in the fire department. The MEOC was manufactured by North American Catastrophe Services at a cost of approximately $850,000. The plan is to have one MEOC in each FEMA region across the country.