Duplin Emergency Communication Alliance (DECA) Project

Duplin Emergency Communication Alliance (DECA) Project
The entire state of North Carolina depends on ARES volunteers to supplement their existing communication channels. There is currently a large gap in emergency communications coverage within much of rural North Carolina, including Area 4 as designated by Emergency Services. This area is very susceptible to destructive weather patterns. The gap is related to a lack of resources for coordinating the various amateur radio groups within the area with state emergency services. This prevents providing coverage to key locations such as schools and shelters.


Our Solutions

By providing mobile communications platforms that can travel to key sites within an area and coordinate communications between ARES volunteers, responder organizations such as the Red Cross, and state emergency personnel, we can optimize the effectiveness of all emergency responders. The mobile communication vehicle will also defray the cost of redundant local investments.

Our Goals:

Establish the Operational Efficiency of the Mobile Unit through Implementation of a Plan That Integrates the Mobile Unit with Other State & FEMA Emergency Services.

Create an Outreach Plan That Will Utilize the Mobile Communications Unit as a Platform That Will Be Used to Support Education & the Training & Recruitment of Amateur Radio Technicians to Broaden the Emergency Response Network.

Custom Communications Vehicle for Emergencies

The Mobile Emergency Communications Unit, or MECU, is a custom communications vehicle. Duplin Emergency Communication Alliance is working to add this unit to our emergency resources to better serve North Carolina, Duplin County and North Carolina Area 4.

Approach

Our goal is to retrofit a commercial fire/rescue ambulance with a communication package that includes a pneumatic driven external collapsible mast that will extend 53" above the ground.. This will provide the necessary communications linkage through fixed repeaters and internal communications hardware, supporting up to three workstations that can be staffed by ARES-trained operators. It will integrate a backup energy package, including a diesel AC generator coupled with an efficient solar-powered AC inverter and battery system to maintain operation.

We'll update the current repeater system to eliminate coverage gaps in Area 4, and commission the system via execution of a demonstration scenario representative of an emergency situation. This will require coordination of volunteer ARES and state emergency resources.

Project Cost

Project Cost
Our budget estimate includes the costs of procuring, converting, and equipping the ambulance. It also includes costs associated with expenses of procurement and operation over five years. It does not include labor related to the operation of the unit, which is provided by volunteers.

Project Definition & Goals

We aim to build a mobile communications unit that provides a portable platform that will be used to coordinate ARES volunteers with NC state emergency services to provide wide-scale communications coverage. This unit will be operated by highly trained ARES and RACES volunteers certified by the FCC and endorsed by FEMA and DHS. It will support anytime, anywhere deployment with a fully operational team as a RACES resource that can be called into service by the state or FEMA authorities in order to ensure safety and security. It also provides supplemental communication during non-emergency activities.

Mobile Emergency Communications Project

Mobile Emergency Communications Project
The Mobile Emergency Communications Unit is designed as a mobile operations center with multiple staffed radio workstations. It will support NC Area 4 emergency command infrastructure, as well as other responding organizations like the Red Cross. We provide coordination of ARRL radio operators staged at key Area 4 locations, such as hospitals, shelters, and schools.

By providing this resource, we'll help save lives and property that otherwise might not make it in a state of emergency. The mobile unit allows us to cover gaps in usual radio coverage, ensuring that everyone is able to get the information they need when trouble is headed our way. Together, we allow communities to be more prepared, and emergency responders to get the information and cohesion they need to deploy effectively and save the most lives.
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