The Emergency Operations Center: A Vital Preparedness Tool

Issue 5 and Volume 163.

BY WILLIAM SHOULDIS The emergency operations center (EOC) is a generic tool for coordinating on-scene operations during low-frequency and high-risk incidents. Every community, large and small, faces the likelihood of an overwhelming emergency event. Often, these incidents will lack a common operating picture and can transcend political jurisdictional boundaries. The ability of a community to acquire and allocate necessary resources hinges on being prepared. The roots of a community’s “all-hazard” preparedness program involve intergovernmental relations and a detailed planning process that includes mutual-aid assistance agreements. Emphasis must be on technical information based on an accurate assessment of risk, vulnerability, and capabilities. Resources will be scarce during a large-scale incident, and the EOC can identify and obtain additional assets that are not always available to the on-scene incident commander (IC). The EOC mobilizes people and equipment to handle incidents that are outside the ability of any single agency to resolve. The…

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