Bryan's fire department has a new, high-tech tool for the entire region in case of emergencies.
The mobile command vehicle was unveiled at Bryan's city council meeting Tuesday. It's mainly a fire engine chassis equipped with enough equipment for a command post in the field, everything from access to the internet and city systems to cameras and radios.
The $686,000 vehicle was purchased with three years worth of homeland security funds belonging to Bryan. The city owns the vehicle, but as part of their purchase, has agreed to partner with agencies throughout the Brazos Valley Council of Government's seven-county region.
"We're going to set and write the policy as to how and when the vehicle would leave Bryan or Brazos County," Fire Chief Mike Donoho explained, "and we're going to be working with our neighbors to establish guidelines that everyone can agree upon."
Emergency response situations like hazardous material spills, hostage situations or major, on-going crime scenes are all scenarios in which Donoho envisions the vehicle being used.
"We reviewed past history of events within our region, within the state of Texas, and we saw that there were multiple times where a vehicle like this would have been nice to have, if you will," Donoho said.
The biggest feature city officials highlight is the ability to take various radio frequencies that normally wouldn't be able to communicate with each other and sync them up.
Texas Governor Rick Perry put out a mandate for agencies across the state to increase their communications abilities, this in the wake of incidents like the September 11 disaster where first responders had difficulties communicating with each other.