Hazmat incident team truck with deployed RATT camera monitoring smoke and fire conditions at Andy's Ridge

Rapid Wildfire Response with The RATT: Anderson County's Quick Solution

On the evening of Saturday November 4th at approximately 6:05 PM, Anderson County 911 was notified of an out-of-control wildfire in the area of Andy’s Ridge in Briceville, TN. Crews held back the majority of the fire throughout the night and by Sunday morning, Anderson County EMA was requested to deploy an incident command post along with their RATT portable camera tower to provide an overall incident survey and common operating picture. 

The RATT was connected to an Anderson County Hazmat Truck’s 2×2” hitch receiver in less than 90 seconds and thereafter deployed to 30’ on-scene in minutes. 

Per Director Brice Kidwell, “The RATT was used to monitor the smoke and changes in fire conditions from the wildfire from inside the command post. It played an important role in monitoring the changing of the conditions as well as providing the community with an overview of the situation at hand. The RATT spotted fires that were picked up via the camera that helped aid in a tactical decision to move resources to the affected area. Additionally, The RATT’s 24-hour live stream provided command staff and elected officials with a peace of mind as the fire deteriorated over the span of three days.”

According to NIMS, “achieving a common operating picture allows on-scene and off-scene personnel—such as those at the Incident Command Post, Emergency Operations Center (EOC), or within a Multiagency Coordination Group—to have the same information about the incident, including the availability and location of resources and the status of assistance requests.”

Rather than dealing with the hassle of a bulky camera trailer and the additional resources required to set it up, Anderson County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) purchased a Hitch-Mounted RATT tower with a cloud-connected RQ621 portable camera kit in order to quickly deploy an eye-in-the-sky at public events and emergency situations day or night. 

According to Director Kidwell, “The RATT provides a quick setup and take down whereas our trailer is cumbersome and can take up more room than necessary. With The RATT, we maneuver it into position easier, taking up less room at a scene or event.”

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