EMA plans to purchase mobile unit

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 21, 2004

The Lawrence County Homeland Security committee wants to buy a mobile response trailer as part of the county's homeland security preparedness operations.

Lawrence County EMA/911 Director Don Mootz said the trailer would be paid for with federal funds. Committee members have spoken with several companies that sell such trailers and have obtained price quotes on various models.

To date, the county has been approved for approximately $300,000 in

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federal anti-terrorism assistance. The committee has earmarked $39,500 for inter-agency communications equipment. The communications system includes a new tower and control grid that will allow governmental, emergency services, utility and other public entities to communicate with each other not only during homeland security incidents but also during weather-related emergencies, such as ice storms and floods.

"The tower was put up a couple of weeks ago," Mootz said. "They'll hang five antennae on it in the next couple of weeks. The equipment is here but not installed yet. With this, we can communicate with any agency that will let us use their frequency and who wants to be a part of what we're doing. This should be operable within the next 60 days."

Another $36,000 has been earmarked for planning and an additional $12,000 for emergency preparedness drills and exercises. Most of the remainder of the approximately $300,000 will be used to purchase the mobile response trailer.

Mootz said he is hoping the county will receive another $238,620 in Homeland Security money. He said he has applied for the grant and hopes to know by mid-summer if the county will receive the additional money. The Homeland Security Preparedness Committee would decide how that money would be spent. Mootz said one possibility would be some form of

homeland security protection for the county's water systems.

"Once people see what were doing to protect them - and we haven't been public with a lot of this (because) we don't want to give anyone a false sense of security -

I think they will be pleased," Mootz said.