BEND, OR -- Deschutes County is working out the budget needed to handle the massive number of visitors expected for the August eclipse. Even though the bulk of eclipse viewers are expected in Jefferson County, Deschutes County will be home to the regional command center used to monitor potential problems and large incidents.
Deschutes County Sheriff’s Captain Deron McMaster is involved in setting up the command center at the fairgrounds in Redmond, along with the Joint Information Center (JIC). "A JIC is a part of the MAC, which is the Multi-Agency Command Center. We’re all going to be in the MAC, or you might hear it referred to as the Emergency Operations Center (EOC). All these terms come out of the incident command system, which FEMA now requires us to use this system." It's part of the now standardized incident command system.
Capt. McMaster says Deschutes County is better positioned for such a big operation. "The southern edge of the path of totality runs right about the southern edge of Redmond. And, of course, in Deschutes County we have a lot of places to stay, a lot of hotels and a lot of space. So, we’re expecting a lot of people in Deschutes County, as well. The reason why we’re so heavily involved is we have a lot of resources; we have a lot of experience. The other counties, they have a lot of experience of their own; they’re a little bit smaller agencies." He adds, "Getting resources to locations other than Deschutes County may be difficult because of the highways and the amount of traffic volume on those highways, but we’re preparing and planning in the event that we need to help out other organizations. Not to mention the fact that it’s going to be the peak of our fire season when those people are here."
He tells KBND News, "All the important players in Deschutes County are going to come together at the fairgrounds at [the] command center, where we can talk face to face; where we can plan. All the important players will be at the table, even somebody from St. Charles, the road department, ODOT, as well as all the emergency services: Sheriff’s Office, Redmond PD, fire departments." But running that kind of operation takes resources. Deschutes County Emergency Manager Sgt. Nathan Garibay says materials for the MAC and support, like food, facilities and IT services, will cost less than $25,000, which will be shared by participating agencies. However, he admits personnel costs associated with staffing the center will be much higher and are more difficult to estimate.
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