Beverly Stavley ancwers the phone in the AWG Communications Command Center
Photo By Robert Bell
From Girdwood to Homer, in the event of an emergency such as an earthquake, tsunami, volcanic eruption or even an avalanche such as the one that occurred last night at Mile 54 of the Seward Highway, communications are the key to responsiveness.
The Communications Command Center at Arctic Winter Games headquarters in Kenai serves as the nerve center for ensuring those that need to know are in the loop. Radios, telephones, and an array of computers and monitors, fill the center.
Even “the buses used for transporting athletes have radios installed,” said Communications Chairperson Kathy Dawson. “And when they drive to Seward, Homer or Girdwood, they are escorted by Alaska state troopers also equipped with radios” using the same frequency.
With staff, equipment and bandwidth on loan from the U.S. Department of Defense, anything and everything that happens at every sport venue, athlete village, and points in between is communicated effectively and efficiently. In the event of an emergency, medical and security personnel, and Laidlaw transportation can be dispatched quickly according to Dawson.
Installation of the communication system was done by a five-person crew that arrived February 22, and was quickly completed allowing two members to return home while three members remain to operate the system.
The equipment is very expensive, but is made cost effective because “it is used over and over at different events,” said DOD Special Event Coordinator Bill Sauder. “This same equipment is used for Boy Scout Jamborees, the Olympics, and Presidential Inaugurations,” he said. The actual cost is equated to “a couple thousand dollars because it is used over and over,” said Sauder.
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