WEST POINT, Miss. (WTVA) — The West Point Fire Department is taking a room at one of its fire stations and transforming it into an incident command center.
The move will enable the department to better serve the city during a disaster or an extended call where multiple agencies are needed to render assistance.
"Well, if any sustained incident lasts more than like a two hour thunderstorm, you know, when you have damage, you have lines down, you have trees down, you just need people that are running the show to be able to talk to one another," says Johnny Littlefield, West Point's fire chief.
Once the new incident command center becomes fully operational at Fire Station Number 1, it will enable leaders of departments to communicate with one another and with people who are out in the field dealing with an incident.
"Being able to talk to other departments — say if we need something from like public works or the police department or sheriff's department or other fire departments, we'll be able to make that connection a lot quicker," adds Ken Wilbourne, West Point fire battalion chief. "We'll be able to maybe get, you know, what we need faster. Communications is everything from person to person to up the command chain to back down the command chain. If you can't communicate you can't function."
Before the new incident command center takes shape, some renovations will have to be done to a room that is just large enough to accomodate everyone.
"Well, we're going to put countertops all the way around the room with drawers under the bottom," adds Littlefield. "Walkies, chargers, computers, you know, laptops, so everybody can deal with their own agency, and we'll be close enough to deal with one another."
With leaders at one location, that will hopefully cut down the time needed to make important decisions.
The new incident command center is expected to be working sometime within 4 to 6 months.