Command #1
, a joint effort between the city’s emergency service, fire, and police departments, has quickly become a vital part of the city’s emergency response arsenal.

In the event of a disaster that leaves Murphysboro’s 911 dispatch center destroyed or inoperable, Command 1 is capable of taking over 911 dispatching for the city. From the unit’s dispatch console, Emergency Service staff can communicate on nearly all of the emergency frequencies used in Jackson County. They can also activate the city’s alert (tornado) warning sirens, as well as all of the local Fire Department receivers.

The Police Department frequently utilizes Command 1 as a mobile command post for local events, such as the Apple Festival, Fourth of July, and Barbeque Championships. The vehicle provides a central location for officers to conduct operations. Utilizing the radio console, event radio traffic and dispatch can be conducted from the command vehicle, thereby relieving 911 dispatchers of this duty and allowing them to focus on emergency calls. The vehicle is also easily recognizable by the public as a place to go for assistance.

The Fire Department utilizes Command 1 to respond to all working structure fires. The unit contains a supply of extra air bottles, as well as other vital equipment, such as items used in arson investigations. By consolidating equipment in one vehicle, it enhances the ability of the firefighters to respond effectively and efficiently. During extreme weather conditions, the unit also provides a place for firefighters to take cover.

The unit, a 1989 Grumman Step Van, was purchased by the city in 1996. It features a radio console, five 2-way radios, a tone encoder, computer, and cellular telephone. All of the equipment was acquired through the generous support of local businesses including GTE, Penn Aluminum and Consolidated Services, as well as a number of individual donors.