Fremont unveils new public safety mobile command

Fremont is showing off its new public safety van designed to handle earthquakes, major fires and hostage situations.
February 12, 2014 7:42:46 PM PST
Taxpayer dollars have created a new public safety van to handle earthquakes, major fires and hostage situations. The $1.3 million mobile command is the brain child of Fremont's police and firefighters, and it's going to be deployed all over the Bay Area.

Seventy percent of the funding came from the Department of Homeland Security and the rest from Fremont's general fund.

It's believed to be the first time a mobile communications van has been designed for three distinct functions -- for firefighters, for police SWAT teams, and for 911 dispatchers if phone lines go down. It's outfitted with satellite-delivered Internet, priority wireless connections, and 27 flat screen monitors. The radios are equipped to work no matter where the van may go.

"In these radios, we have programmed every agency in the Bay Area," Fremont Fire Capt. Gary Ashley said. "So if we run an event in Berkeley or San Mateo and they require communications, we can dial in their channels and furthermore, patch their channels with ours."

There is also a 33-foot high mast with a camera mounted on top as well as a large printer to provide incident commanders with pipeline diagrams, maps and other visual aids.

It's expected that Fremont police will use the van 90 percent of time for the 22-25 SWAT incidents it works each year.

"The technology inside the vehicle really enhances my ability to make decisions to deploy personnel in an appropriate way and to come to a safe resolution of any type of tactical incident," Fremont SWAT Commander Lt. Sean Washington said.

The fire department came up with the first layout with a goal to provide ample room via expandable sidewalls for people and equipment.

"Where you normally have the fire pump and fire hose, take that all out and you replace it all with a bunch of high tech radio communications pieces, items," Fremont Fire Capt. Daniel Cardenas said.

There is one thing this new mobile command van is missing -- a nickname. The city of Fremont is open to suggestions. If you can think of one, post it to Twitter, using #namethefremontvan.

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