SDG&E buys a $600K tactical command vehicle to help fight wildfires
- Aug 12, 2019 10:22 am GMT
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Aug. 10--SAN DIEGO -- San Diego Gas & Electric plans to deploy a special off-road vehicle during wildfires that can quickly provide firefighters with state-of-the-art communications technology, even in remote areas.
The $600,000 tactical command vehicle, which the utility company bought in November 2018, is a truck loaded with gear -- satellite and microwave dishes, equipment that can downlink helicopter video and a table top touchscreen where maps and video can be viewed.
"The vehicle is vital to SDG&E's safety efforts because it allows teams to deploy faster and quickly establish full internet and satellite phone communications at temporary locations," the company said in a statement.
The unit, which can carry up to four people, will be manned by SDG&E employees and may be partially staffed by fire command staff. It was among the firefighting assets paid for by the utility, including a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, highlighted at news conference this week.
Since 2007, SDG&E has invested about $1.5 billion of ratepayer money into programs aimed at reducing the risk of wildfires and helping put out fires once they ignite.
"This resource allows for on-site command and control at disasters or significant emergencies," said utility spokeswoman Denice Menard. "Through the use of sophisticated communication technology, key decision-makers have all the tools necessary to make safe and informed decisions."
The vehicle can be deployed within about 20 minutes when a fire breaks out, she said, and can go into high-clearance areas and off pavement. It will be stored at San Diego International Airport.
It can establish internet and satellite phone communications in remote sites and "should enhance situational awareness and give additional intelligence resources to incident commanders," she said.
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