LEPC asks for specific Search & Rescue proposal
By CHUCK CLEMENT, Staff Reporter
The members of the Local Emergency Planning Committee decided on Wednesday that they wanted more information about what needs the Lake County Search & Rescue group have before providing a currently-available, emergency-response trailer.|
Earlier this spring, representatives with Search & Rescue (SAR) met with the Lake County Commissioners to discuss using the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) trailer for their operations. The SAR representatives have said that their group could use the CERT to haul some of their equipment while the material that is currently maintained in the CERT could go into storage at the SAR facility in Madison.
The LEPC members seemed to reach a consensus that they couldn't agree to sharing the 7x16-foot trailer until they understand how SAR plans to use it.
"I don't know that their equipment is (related to) their request," said Chris Giles, a LEPC member. "What do they want it for? What're their priorities?"
While meeting with the county commissioners, Michael Johnson, a SAR member, said SAR could make use of three portable generators that are part of CERT equipment. The SAR members also told the county commissioners that they could store in the CERT some scuba-diving equipment and an extraction tube used for grain-suffocation rescues.
The LEPC members reviewed a list of other uses that SAR could have for the trailer, including a scuba equipment change station for divers, command center, and transporter for SAR's personal watercraft, commonly called a Jet-Ski, or utility terrain vehicle.
Many of the proposed uses would involve modifying the trailer, such as providing a wintertime heat source for divers or ramps and mounts for the watercraft. The LEPC members also doubted whether SAR's UTV, or motorized mule, could easily fit inside the trailer.
The Lake County area currently has two emergency-response equipment trailers -- the CERT trailer and the hazardous material (HazMat) trailer used for the Lake County Emergency Response program.
According to Don Thomson, county emergency management director, Lake County currently holds the title to the CERT. Its use was intended for providing material and supplies useful in response to disasters such as a tornado strike, disease pandemic or flood event. The CERT trailer contains equipment including an emergency shelter, cots, blankets, stretchers, temporary shelters and light sets.
Thomson told the LEPC members that local officials might have used the CERT during the spring 2012 flooding in Madison, if the emergency had extended timewise.
"It was a near miss last year," Thomson said. "If it had gone on longer, we might have needed the temporary shelter setup."
The city of Madison currently possesses the title to the 7x16-foot HazMat trailer. It contains equipment and material needed to contain hazardous chemicals that might be released during a semitrailer accident on a highway or a train accident.
"In those instances, the HazMat trailer would provide the equipment needed for an initial response," Thomson said. "To clean up a spill like that, we'd need to contact a contractor or a HazMat response team."
Thomson also pointed out that if SAR wanted to tow the trailer, the group would either need another tow vehicle or to eliminate one of the two trailers that it already uses. SAR currently has one trailer for a boat and another trailer for its personal watercraft.
During the discussion at the LEPC meeting, Deb Reinicke, a committee member, noted that SAR might need a more specialized trailer than the ones currently available.
"I think that Chris (Giles) makes a good point. Search & Rescue needs to determine their priorities," Reinicke said.
©Madison Daily Leader 2013
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