Commissioners approve purchase of mobile operations center

Published 5:06 pm Wednesday, June 29, 2022

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During their Tuesday morning meeting, the Mower County Board of Commissioners approved the purchase of a mobile operations center for use by the Department of Emergency Management.

The 23-foot long trailer comes pre-customized with four office workstations and is wired to run off of a generator.

Emergency Manager Amy Lammey said the trailer will be modified further once it’s delivered sometime in mid-July and has been on the department’s wish list for quite some time.

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“It will be utilized if we need to go out and do disasters and any type of mobile emergency,” Lammey said Wednesday, explaining that a similar trailer on loan from Freeborn County during the Taopi tornado’s aftermath in April opened up some new doors. “I finally had a good idea of what would work for us.”

Currently, the trailer is undergoing modifications for the county and will come with a price tag of just over $46,000.

The timing couldn’t have been better. The trailer is a 2022 model and because it already comes equipped with much of what the county needs, it helped keep costs down and allowed it to get the trailer in hand earlier.

It’s also advantageous in that American Rescue Plan Act dollars the county has on hand can be used to pay for the trailer.

Lammey said that if the county would have chosen to go with a trailer built from the ground up, it could have taken one to two years to receive because of supply chain issues and rising costs.

“Who knows how far it would have gone up,” Lammey said.

From the county’s perspective, the versatility of the trailer proved to be another attractive selling point.

“We can use it for a variety of things,” County Administrator Trish Harren pointed out during Tuesday’s meeting. “It won’t just be an incident command.”

After receiving the trailer in mid-July, the hope is to show it off to the public for the first time at the Mower County Fair in August. 

Most importantly, however, Lammey said it will be nice to know that they will have the trailer for the next emergency.

“Whether we’re responding for a week at Taopi or a 12 hour event, it’s nice to have a work place to go,” she said. “It’s just good practice. You don’t realize how much space you need until you’re dealing with maps and other agencies.”

Lammey also said, it’s nice to be working with an administration who understands the need.

“It’s nice to have county commissioners look at the needs of the community and county and act on it,” she said.