By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
If you have been keeping up with the OEM updates in the County Commission articles, you have heard mention of the ZUMRO shelter by OEM Director Kevin White. He has been briefing the commissioners for the last several months about the purchasing of a hub and an additional 400 square foot addition.
These units can be deployed by a single individual in approximately six minutes from start to finish. Sandy Green, former Chief of the CVFD, noted from the time the switch was flipped to begin the inflation process; the entire hub was set up and operable in two minutes and thirty seconds. This type of unit opens up a world of possibilities for entities in emergency situations. White explained these units can be utilized for medical, triage, command center, emergency shelters, and decontamination to name a few.
This hub is currently the only one in the state of West Virginia, though each of the 11 regions has a 400 square foot addition, and now Tucker County has two. Each of these can be inter-connected to be made into a multi-unit facility if the need arises. The hub has four doors that can be attached onto by the additions, and comes equipped with LED lighting, air conditioning, and heat. It is composed with insulation barriers, a thermostat, and electrical outlets. A generator is used to inflate the units and once inflated, they can last up to a week before needing refilled.
Tom Cushing, representative of the region including WV from the ZUMRO company, was on site to assist in the first deployment of the hub and one of their two 400 square foot additions. He informed these shelters are the only one of their kind and are made in Pompano Beach, Florida, and were established in 1987. They are 100% American made products and are shipped worldwide. The entities that most utilize these products include Offices of Emergency Management, hospitals, fire departments, police departments, and the military, although anyone is capable of purchasing. “They are built to last decades,” Cushing explained. He also informed if need be, the units can be deployed using an SCBA, or the air tanks utilized by firefighters, though the generator is needed to run the lights, heater, and air conditioner. All of the units made by ZUMRO are inter-connectable and usable together. Each section can be easily maneuvered and relocated by four individuals with ease.
The total cost for the hub and one of the additions comes to $93,000, which fortunately came in the form of a grant for Tucker County. “There are other types of shelters in the state,” commented Green, “but not like this.” Tucker County is proud to be able to in possession of such an invaluable asset. While it is hoped to never need to utilize it in a catastrophic event, it is comforting knowing it’s there if needed along with its numerous potential other uses.