The EOC: Bringing people together
Contributed by: By Randall Larson
Emergency operations centers bring together essential personnel involved in overseeing the response to and mitigation of the emergency. But not every management decision requires in-person attendance during an EOC activation, and not every official will be available to make it to the EOC during an activation.
Of course, key personnel can be conferenced in to important meetings. But aside from convenience, this has two strategic benefits:
- It allows more reach-back capability to subject-matter experts.
- It allows 'social distancing' during a pandemic — that is, no large group of key officials in close proximity.
That said, teleconferencing and video conferencing can be prohibitively expensive.
That's why Alan Wohlferd, director of communications and warning for Wisconsin Emergency Management is looking into leasing the equipment: “One of the fears all of us have in state and federal government is spending $80,000 to $90,000 for a piece of technology that two years from now may be outdated and now we've got to buy something new. Maybe the answer is in getting some type of lease in place and, as technology improves, you’ll be able to take advantage of that."
— Randall D. Larson is a dispatch supervisor and field communications manager for the San Jose (Calif.) Fire Department, with more than 20 years' worth of experience in emergency communications. A frequent contributor to Homeland1, Larson is also the editor of 9-1-1 Magazine, a national trade magazine focusing on public safety communications management.