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Marshall County Puts Mobile Morgue Out for Bid

The COVID-19 pandemic revealed a need for a piece of equipment in the area, and while the worst effects of the pandemic may be over, officials say the need for the equipment could arise at a critical moment.

The Marshall County Commission will open bids for the Office of Emergency Management to purchase a mobile temporary morgue on Tuesday. OEM Director Tom Hart said the decision to purchase the vehicle came as a result of discussions with the state office, which indicated a need for greater capability in emergency situations.

“One of the deficiencies and shortfalls they saw was capacity,” Hart said. “We had requested (the temporary morgue) several months ago, so what we’re doing is looking at partnering with them to build that capability and capacity for this region of the state.”

Hart said the mobile morgue would build up the region’s ability to respond to future catastrophes without delay.

“Even though there’s no immediate need for it right now, we’re looking at building capacity,” he said. “If we would face another pandemic, or see another wave, we’d be able to have that resource available to us.

“With the amount of industry that we have in the county,” Hart added, “and the amount of traffic as a result of the development we’ve got going on, not only in Marshall County but in the region, in the event that we would have some sort of, God forbid, a mass fatality incident, we’d have that available and be able to respond.”

The unit would serve West Virginia Homeland Security Region II: Brooke, Doddridge, Hancock, Harrison, Marion, Marshall, Monongalia, Ohio, Preston, Taylor, Tyler and Wetzel counties. Hart added that the unit would also be available for use across state lines or deployment elsewhere in the state should the need arise.

The bids were received and tabled at the June 1 commission meeting, ahead of having the bids considered at Tuesday’s meeting. Hart said federal funding would be sought to help cover the cost, if the commission agrees to move forward with the purchase, up to 50% of the cost.

“It was something that was identified as a local resource need, and also something looked at as a statewide need,” Hart added. “Partnering with our state office to provide for that need not only within our state but within our region. It’s one of those things you thought you’d never have to request funding for.”

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