|Photo courtesy of Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier|
Above, an official at the Yavapai County Emergency Management Basin Drill in Prescott Valley explains that simple sandbags are still essential in flooding incidents. Much of the county’s more advanced equipment, such as the special operations regional response team fire rig, below, has been purchased with grants from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Special to the Tribune
PRESCOTT VALLEY, Arizona - Equipment for emergency service providers is notoriously expensive stuff, but, working together, agencies can support each other by sharing what they have in time of need.
That was the idea behind a gathering of fire, law enforcement, county agencies and utilities Friday at the Central Yavapai Regional Training Center.
There were 21 agencies represented, from Phoenix Fire to the Yavapai County Flood Control District, and they each brought along their gear so everyone could see what everyone else has and what it can do.
Glendale Fire brought a $23,000 high-tech Base-X military-grade tent than could be used as a semi-permanent incident command post for events like natural disasters.
"It can be used for everything from a surgical suite to an office configuration," Rob Harter, a Glendale firefighter said.
The massive tent took four people less than a half-hour to set up, he said.
"It has A/C, heating, lighting, flooring," Harter said. "Wind, monsoon-doesn't matter."
Phoenix Fire showed off several "pods," which are slick containers configured as climate-controlled command posts and mobile equipment lockers, full of gear. They are made to be lifted and transported just like roll-off trash containers.
Yavapai County explained what heavy construction equipment, such as front-end loaders or road graders it has or can get hold of in case of flooding or fire.
"Not everybody can get everything they need," Prescott Fire spokesman Wade Ward said, "so it's great to have the cooperation of all the agencies. We work together and find out who's putting in for what grants and then we share that."
The grants, as the markings on many of the trucks, pods, and other gear, attest, come from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. In fiscal year 2013, it handed out $968 million to public service agencies.
Ward, who has been around long enough to remember a time before the Department of Homeland Security existed, said, back then, "everything came out of your own budget," which led to a lack of needed equipment. Over time, an attitude of sharing for the greater good developed.
"Instead of working against each other, (now) we're all working for each other," Ward said, giving the example of fire hoses.
"We used to show up on fires and nobody's hoses connected to each other," he said. "Nothing matched and you'd have four different groups of people out there trying to accomplish the same thing."
Those days are largely over, he added.
Denny Foulk, Yavapai County's emergency management coordinator, said, "The beauty of this is, it gives us an idea of the capability that exists outside of the county as well as within the county, so should we ever need that stuff, we can just reach out and grab it real quick."
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