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Firefighters show off mobile command center

South Boston NewsSouth Boston News
The command center and UTV Bobcat / June 07, 2018
The Cluster Springs Volunteer Fire Department showed off its new Command Center trailer Monday to members of the Halifax County Board of Supervisors, thanking them for their continued investment in volunteer fire departments.

The command center can house department heads from fire, rescue and law enforcement under one roof to increase coordination during times of crisis. The self-sufficient trailer features internal WiFi, telephone service and computer systems. There are also radio systems for each branch of emergency services.

Cluster Springs Fire Chief Chris Hudson said the trailer provides a “space out of the elements” for the command staff. “Department heads can be under one roof to maintain proper communication,” he said.

The trailer houses a UTV Bobcat that can be deployed for reconnaissance and extracting individuals from woodland areas. CSVFD designed and built the command center specifically for rural terrain. Halifax County already has one such mobile command center, but Hudson explained that unit is sometimes tied up at events such as the county fair, and Cluster Springs’ mobile center could serve as a back-up for use around the county.

CSVFD has owned the trailer for some time, using it at department fundraising events, but for $6,000 it has upgraded and equipped the unit for mobile command purposes — the money also paid for the trailer’s new exterior graphics. Purchasing a similar vehicle would have cost the fire department between $35,000 and $40,000, said Hudson.

Hudson thanked board members for increasing the county’s allocations to local fire departments through the Capital Improvement Fund. The funding has eased the financial burdens on local fire departments and allowed members to invest time and money in creating useful items such as the command center, he added.

“I’m impressed that we have volunteers that give so much time and money that provide safety,” said Board Chair Dennis Witt, “You can’t put a price tag on safety and rescue when needed.”

In other action at Monday’s regular monthly meeting of supervisors:

Members of the Extension 4-H program gave an account of their work to help the Gulf Coast community of Rockport, Texas to recover from damage inflicted by Hurricane Harvey last year. 4-H student and adult members traveled to Rockport for five days to lend a hand with the clean-up and rebuilding effort in the wake of the destructive storm.

Board members added John Puryear Trail, a 0.5 dead end road, to the list of roads for paving in the county’s Secondary Road Six Year Plan. The work is estimated to cost $99,231. Supervisors also approved this addition as well as a newer amendment removing Tally Loop Trail from the plan and replacing it with Crossroads Trail.

Meeting in closed executive session, supervisors discussed the performance evaluation for County Administrator Jim Halasz. No action followed after supervisors came back out in open session.

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