HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – You may start seeing a new Huntsville City Schools vehicle roaming around town. Monday, the school district and ETV launched the Event Response Communications Vehicle.
The satellite truck will help the district broadcast school events, but more importantly for parents, it serves as an emergency communications vehicle.
“Certainly anything you will do over the phone and over the internet you can do from this vehicle in here,” explained Keith Ward, Director of ETV. “This is totally self-supporting, totally independent, and has the communications tools you may need in any type of emergency.”
The vehicle is equipped with mobile two-way radios, satellite communication, and wifi. If ever there is an emergency at a district school, or severe weather knocks out electricity, internet and phone lines, the vehicle can serve as a communications hub.
From inside the van you can view security cameras throughout the district. Pulled up on the screen Monday morning was the view from every outdoor security camera for the new Huntsville High School 9th Grade Academy.
The footage will be made available to school security officials and law enforcement. Via Virtual Alabama, they can pull up maps of the schools, highlighting where cameras, exits, and even closets of chemicals may be located.
“That [information] could help a first responder make critical decisions in those types of emergencies,” said Ben Bowden, Security Manager for the district.
The communications vehicle was constructed in-house by ETV and district staff. It cost a little under $100,000.
The vehicle will be on scene during Tuesday morning’s emergency drill at the HHS 9th grade Academy. The drill will involve area law enforcement agencies and first responders. It will occur from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.