It is important for public safety agencies (such as law enforcement, emergency medical services, and fire services) to be able to provide and maintain communications before, during, and after a disaster or emergency.
Disasters may require resources beyond what local and state authorities can manage. We provide disaster emergency communications through six geographically dispersed Mobile Emergency Response Support (MERS) detachments and a pre-positioned fleet of Mobile Communications Office Vehicles.
The primary DEC missions are to:
- Enable interoperable communications to ensure coordination and collaboration among Federal, State, Tribal, Territorial, and local governments, as well as the private sector and non-governmental organizations;
- Enable effective and efficient Federal disaster response and recovery by providing Operational Communications support (voice, video, and data) to first responders in coordination with other mission partners, stakeholders, and survivors;
- Support all-hazard emergency management across the entire disaster management lifecycle - preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery
Goals & Objectives:
- Deploy, install, operate, maintain, and protect telecommunications and operations assets in response to all-hazards disasters and in support of planned special events.
- Ensure continuity of disaster emergency communications through FEMA regional fixed facilities positioned throughout the Nation.
- Support the disaster emergency communications needs of state and local governments.
- Establish JFOs and provide for their continuing operational communications and systems needs.
- Aid in evaluating post-disaster communications needs in support of the restoration of the communications infrastructure.
Mobile Emergency Response Support
Mobile Emergency Response Support provides self-sustaining telecommunications, logistics, and operations support through detachments (staff, equipment, and equipment assets) that are immediately deployable. These detachments can be transported nationally and are able to work together to support a large disaster field office and multiple field operating sites within the disaster area. MERS detachments are centrally managed and strategically located across the United States to rapidly respond to incidents at any time, and in any environment. MERS detachments are also called upon to support National Special Security Events as well as other planned special events and activities.
Each detachment has the following capabilities:
- Provides an office and communications platform capable of moving into a disaster on short notice and can be staffed to meet situational needs.
- Ensures systems interoperability through deployment of:
- Radio equipment (such as Ultra High Frequency, Very High Frequency, and 700 MHz tactical radios)
- Satellite backhaul (to provide voice, data, and video support via satellite)
- Line of Sight / Near Line of Sight microwave systems (for moving data in and out of a disaster area)
- Has generators to supply the power generation requirements of one or more facilities or locations within the disaster area.
- Can provide the heating, ventilation, and cooling requirements for a large office building.
- Can provide diesel fuel.
- Can provide potable water.
- Support personnel with planning; alert, notification, and deployment monitoring; situational awareness; and reporting.
Mobile Communications Office Vehicles
Mobile Communications Office Vehicles are multi-purpose central office facilities that are activated to support FEMA’s response and recovery to/from a disaster. These vehicles are fitted with work stations and satellite communications to provide voice and data connectivity to the FEMA network to support survivors.
During initial deployment, Mobile Communications Office Vehicles are guided by operational coordination, control, and communications requirements received from on-scene emergency management personnel. They’re able to quickly establish a center for survivors to apply for assistance, which is known as a mobile disaster recovery center.