ROBINSON, Ill. (WTHI) – This week marks severe weather awareness week in Illinois and it is an effort to make sure you have a plan – for a worst case scenario.
Even if you don’t have a plan – there’s a man in Robinson who does.
Communication is critical.
Consider yourself caught in the middle of a severe weather outbreak and the weather cuts off your cell phone – your internet – and your power. What do you do?
Ken Pryor – knows his equipment.
Every… “We have 40 harris radios, hand hell harris radios…”
Single… “We have 20 vhf radios handheld…”
Piece… “We have a ham radio in there, one ham radio in there we have aircraft radio in there.”
Down to a T.
To the average eye, it kind of looks like a carnival trailer. But — long story short — it’s basically a rolling dispatch center.
And Ken, who is the director of Crawford County Emergency Management, can explain what it does way better than we ever could.
“If you need help, you want to reach out there and touch somebody… ‘Hey I need bulldozers. I need trucks of water. I need whatever…’” he told Storm Team 10.
It’s the ITECS – or Illinois Transportable Emergency Communications System. In other words; when severe weather strikes – or any disaster for that matter – Ken and his team pull out this machine and open the lines of communication.
When there may be none at all.
“I hooked up just an antenna out in front of the garage here and I talked to a guy in Sweden,” Ken said.
One perk here is that Ken can communicate with HAM Radio Operators during severe weather. HAM Radio Operators share reports with Storm Team 10 and that info – in a worst case scenario – can get back to Crawford County to help people in the line of the storm.
Pryor admits – he doesn’t have to pull out the trailer for severe weather very often. It’s a peace of mind – though – that it’s here.