In 2018, Dickinson County Emergency Management acquired a new mobile command unit (MCU), replacing a very undersized 14-foot enclosed trailer with no heat or air conditioning and was only big enough to hold a couple people. The new unit is a 2019 KZ Sportster 30-foot "toy hauler" travel trailer with an on-board generator, 30-gallon fuel tank, kitchenette, and bathroom. These amenities us to deploy anywhere and be self-sufficient for several hours - or days - at a time.
The new MCU is setup to be multi-purpose. The rear portion can be used for either medical treatment/rehab or as a meeting and planning area for those overseeing an incident or operation. The rear door opens down forming a ramp which allows stretchers to be rolled in and out as needed. The front area is setup for communications and has two workstations, each with radios and laptops. The radios allow us to communicate across Dickinson County, with neighboring counties, and even all across Iowa using the Iowa Statewide Interoperable Communications System (ISICS). We can also reach into Minnesota using their statewide radio system, known as ARMER. In the event that our primary dispatch center becomes inoperable, dispatchers can relocate to the MCU, receive phone calls, and dispatch law enforcement, fire, and EMS agencies in Dickinson County.
Funding for the MCU was provided largely by the Dickinson County Board of Supervisors who contributed $30,000 toward the project. Emergency Management paid the remaining $4,115 of the purchase price.
The first event for the MCU was the fire at Market Street Tire in Lake Park on December 20, 2018. While there, the MCU worked communications for the event and served as a warm place for those involved with the incident. Responders were on scene all night and into the following morning while temperatures hovered in the mid-thirties. Personnel with Lake Park Rescue oversaw rehab for the firefighters at the MCU and made sure there was plenty of coffee and hot chocolate on hand. Local businesses supplied hot food and other items for the firefighters.
The MCU was used in March of 2019 as a command post for the flooding operations in the Airport Drive area of Milford, then in August of 2019 for an active shooter exercise at Camp Foster, and the following week for a two-day search of a drowning victim in East Lake Okoboji.
Dickinson County Emergency Management wishes to thank the following entities for their support in this project:
- Dickinson County Board of Supervisors: $30,000 towards the purchase price
- Okoboji Foundation & Youth in Philanthropy: $4,000 towards the purchase of an AED, suction unit, medical jump packs, backboard, and two triage kits
- City of Arnolds Park, Arnolds Park Police Department and Arnolds Park/Okoboji Fire Department: Arranged for an indoor, climate-controlled location for the trailer to be stored
- Paul Terveen/Lakes Lube Center: Donated a Cradlepoint router and exterior antenna for phone and internet service