The Greater Houston Red Cross deployed two trained Red Cross Disaster Volunteers Joe Luna and Jill Franklin and an Emergency Communications Response Vehicle (ECRV) to Mississippi to assist tornado victims.
Joe Luna and Jill Franklin have been trained by the Red Cross to operate the ECRV.
The ECRV provides communication in disaster areas that have had phone lines and electricity knocked out.
The ECRV has a satellite dish and 52-foot telescoping mast on top that make it look like a television news truck. The satellite dish provides a link for 10 phones and 10 laptops with high speed data delivery. The computers can be networked and tied in with the National Red Cross to quickly support a local Red Cross Chapter that has lost all communication or set up a Disaster Center in the area.
The ECRV housed in Houston is an Excursion, equipped with an 8,000- watt AC generator that runs off the truck’s diesel engine. A 45-gallon fuel tank with a heavy duty cooling system means the ECRV can run for 48 hours without refueling or overheating.
A camera on the truck’s mast provides a bird’s eye view of the disaster area and shoots video that can be uplinked to National Headquarters. This information helps determine what Red Cross resources are needed. Since disaster areas are often cut off from outside communication, the truck is equipped to monitor television and cable stations for the latest information on the relief efforts.