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Posted 12/12/2018

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By Sara Corbett

During a disaster, communication is vital to response and recovery efforts, but it’s often impossible due to power outages. This is where the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Deployable Tactical Operations System truck comes into play.

“The DTOS is completely self-sufficient, which is crucial during a crisis,” said Michael Hind, chief, Charleston District emergency management.

During Hurricane Florence response efforts, the Charleston District used a DTOS to position and track flood fighting materials, as well as personnel, in an effort to mitigate the rising floodwater in Horry and Georgetown Counties.

The DTOS provides the ability to quickly set-up a mobile operation and communication platform, which enabled the District to provide the necessary support to Georgetown County’s and Horry County’s Emergency Operation Centers, South Carolina Army National Guard and South Carolina Department of Transportation. It also gave the Corps the ability to reach-back to the Charleston District’s EOC to align communication and coordinate mission efforts.

“We used the Emergency Command and Control Vehicle DTOS unit for this particular mission,” said Hind. “The ECCV is a state-of-the-art communications systems that can be up and running in less than 15 minutes from its arrival.”

The ECCV is 40,000 lbs., 47-feet-long, 13.5-feet-high and 9.5-feet-wide. It has 11 workspaces, can go 500 miles on a single tank of fuel and run for 72 hours straight with an onboard generator and full tank of fuel. The available technology includes access to radios with interoperability, TVs with VTC options, and satellite and cellular capabilities that can deliver both voice and data communications.

Since the flood fighting efforts were in Horry and Georgetown Counties, the DTOS was situated in Conway, S.C., making it central to the impacted areas.

“We were fortunate that we had the DTOS during our response efforts,” said Hind. “Having a team that was completely self-sustaining on the ground tracking materials and personnel helped make this mission a success.”

In addition to the ECCV, the Corps has other several types of DTOS, including the Emergency Support Unit, Mobile Communications Vehicle and Containerized Tactical Operations Center, for a total of 23 vehicles. While each DTOS has a specific function, they all provide lifesaving and vital support during a crisis.

Hurricane Florence