County Gets a Bargain on Travel Trailers from Federal Surplus

July 1, 2007
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Government has purchased three travel trailers from federal surplus for one thousand dollars each to be used by the Sheriff's Department, the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department, and a county garbage collection convenience center.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says the travel trailers were originally obtained by the federal government for Hurricane Katrina victims but are no longer needed. \"We gave one thousand dollars a piece for them. The estimated total value of all three of them new is $65,000. These trailers have heating and cooling capabilities, along with restroom facilities. We will remove the bed area from the trailer, install some radio equipment, and make it a critical response unit. We'll use it in the events of tragedies, such as murders, drownings, missing persons, or any kind of rescues. That way we can do on the scene interviews with victims and witnesses. We'll also use it for weather related disasters, such as flooding and tornadoes. That way we'll have a place where all the emergency personnel can coordinate with the volunteers. We also want to use it for crime prevention and education for citizens and we'll take it to the schools and let children walk through it so they can see what it looks like. We'll also be sharing our trailer with the City of Smithville, the City of Alexandria, and any county department that needs any kind of help with anything, along with state agencies and surrounding counties for any command post or whatever they need.\"

County Mayor Mike Foster says one of the trailers will be used at a local garbage collection convenience center. \" We're going to use ours at one of our convenience centers. We've been buying these little portable buildings, and by the time we insulate them, put a commode in them, and all that, we've got about four thousand dollars in them. We'll have a thousand dollars in this one and all we'll have to do is take it there, level it, and hook it up. It's got heating and cooling, it's already wired, and it's got plenty of space. We'll take the bedroom out of it and use that for office space. If we can get two more of these trailers, we can use them at other convenience center locations where we have buildings that need replacing. This one will probably wind up serving the convenience center on the south side of town out on Highway 56 because we'll soon have to move that location (because of the state highway improvement project) and that little building there now will probably never stand the move because it's in pretty bad shape.\"

County Fire Chief Donny Green says one of the trailers will be for the County Volunteer Fire Department. \"We got this for the fire department but we'll be sharing it with the 911 Communications Center. I've talked with the director and we're going to install some backup equipment, such as radios and lines that we can hook up to the telephones in the event that there's a catastrophe at the 911 center such as a fire or something that would prevent them from dispatching temporarily. This would then become a mobile type backup center that we would use for that. In addition, we also plan to do some prevention and education type activities out of it for the schools and senior citizens and offer more outreach in the communities, such as showing how smoke alarms work and the importance of having them installed in homes.\"

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