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Emergency mobile command center donated to area fire agencies

An important vehicle that will help in the next natural or man-made emergency has arrived in Santa Barbara County. Acting Santa Barbara City Fire Chief Lee Waldron said it comes at time when the need is obvious. “As we all know unfortunately Santa Barbara County been the center for a lot of major emergencies and major events over the last several years.” The new mobile command unit (MCU) is “really gonna make a difference” said Santa Barbara County Fire Chief Eric Peterson at a press event to unveil the unit at fire station number one in Santa Barbara this afternoon. The vehicle will be available for all of the local departments to share on a major incident. Commanders, resource coordinators and financial staff will be side by side. “To have a dedicated spot to do this work with printers and scanners and computers in it, it is quiet and air conditioned. It’s a really nice credible place for our team to get some work done,” said Peterson. Local agencies are often joined by outside crews and this unit will make the coordination or handoff easier. “This helps us to get the message to them what the priorities are for the incident, the mapping so they can see where they are supposed to be. W e can connect to the internet and get the information that we need from the various players to help us be accurate in our incident action plan,” said Waldron. Funding for the unit came from the recent united fundraiser called the ONE 805 Kick Ash Bash. A non-profit organization was set up and the event was put on just a few weeks after the devastating Thomas Fire and Montecito mudflow that took 25 lives in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. Local celebrities including Kenny Loggins, Alan Parsons, and Katie Perry performed. The host was comedian Dennis Miller who was flanked at times by TV talk show host and comedian Ellen DeGeneres, actor Don Johnson and tennis legend Jimmy Conners. The donations from that event for the vehicle was $200,000. It’s a figure no agency here could have afforded alone. “For them to come together and provide this thing without us having to try to figure out how to budget for it, is just incredible,” said Peterson. On hand at the event were event supporters including Greg Hons, former Santa Barbara Police officer, Susan Petrovich with the Santa Barbara Fire Alliance, and Arnie Brier with Yardi Systems, a major donor. Richard Weston-Smith, a ONE 805 former board member said the response to the event and the donations that came in has encouraged the group to keep the acts of support coming. “Our first responders don’t just need our support occasionally they need it year in and year out. To that end One 805 is here to stay,” he said. The emergency trailer is going to be stored in a county yard in Los Alamos. It will be available for any fire department in the county handling a significant emergency. More funding from the event will be distributed to other first responders and two more mobile command units will be arriving soon for the Santa Barbara Police Department and the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department. For more information about the ONE 805 non-profit go to: https://www.one805.org/

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