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Mobile Command Posts

Incident management in the nation's current threat environment necessitates mobility, interconnectivity and communications interoperability between federal, state and local emergency service agencies. The Federal Protective Service (FPS) operates Mobile Command Posts (MCPs) to meet this demand. Strategically located around the country, FPS regional offices maintain their assigned MCP in ready condition for immediate deployment to any emergency incident nationwide.

The MCP is operational, regardless of incident scene conditions. It can either be hard-wired to electrical power and phones or it can operate from two on-board 12-kilowatt generators. Each MCP has six telephone lines operating on hard lines. If the cell sites go down, The MCP can switch operations to satellite telephone, providing three layers of telecommunications.

MCPs provide a robust package of radio communications. Each has seven radios capable of operating on VHF, UHF, 800 Megahertz and 900 Megahertz frequencies. Radios are linked to a modular interface system that interconnects across bands and frequencies to instantly link various agency radios. Interagency communications is one of the greatest challenges for Incident Commanders (IC). MCPs overcome that challenge within minutes.

An MCP can monitor television broadcasts via satellite links with three on-board receivers, providing the IC a critical glimpse of the common operating picture of an emergency incident. MCP has seven television screens capable of receiving satellite news programs, local channels and various closed circuit external security camera images.

MCPs are equipped with a telescoping external camera that can be elevated 40 feet and remotely operated to zoom in on nearby incidents. Security camera images can be captured on one of the three DVD-R recorders or on the video printer. There are four external cameras to enhance the physical security of the command post area. An internal camera is in the command staff area of the MCP so briefings can be conducted and transmitted wirelessly to other locations, such as field and area command posts.

MCPs have a robust computer network system with access to the Internet and secure portals in addition to an e-mail system through satellite data transfers. The network is available on the six on-board workstations and to the command staff area. It is equipped with its own compact weather station. Emergency incidents involving a potential for hazardous airborne materials require that the IC maintain accurate, real-time weather reports. MCPs offer this capability.

For comfort and effectiveness, in long-term operations in hostile climates, an MCP provides various amenities. Air conditioned and heated, the MCP has an internal rest room, a galley with running water, a refrigerator and a microwave. Anywhere—anytime, FPS is ready and equipped to handle emergency incidents facing our nation.

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