Emergency Operations Center Specifications
Planning to manage emergency events involves mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery planning. A critical part of this planning process involves preparing to operate an emergency command or operations center. Good response and recovery management requires a robust approach to information management. Emergency Operations Centers, supported by sound information management systems, hold the key to successfully managing potential problems associated with any disaster.
The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) has three vital tasks:
- Communication and Intelligence.
The EOC must be able to effectively communicate and receive information. It is important to undertake intelligence gathering to manage an incident and to provide notification to crisis managers, faculty, staff, students, governments, and the public.
- Command and Control.
The EOC must provide the command and control functions necessary to put multiple response and recovery plans into action – triggering them as needed, providing the triage structure required to allocate resources and personnel, and assuring effective direction of the response operations.
- Coordination and Documentation.
The EOC must create a mechanism to coordinate all of the steps taken to respond to an event and create a record of those actions to protect employees and infrastructure, as well as demonstrate adherence to "best practices" by documenting all information received and steps taken.
The EOC is ultimately a center for information management and decision making. Its primary function is to gather and process all of the information required to plan for and respond quickly and effectively to emergency incidents. Managing response and recovery operations involves a tremendous amount of information. The information may look like the following:
- Incident occurs
- Notification sent to staff
- Status evaluated by EOC managers
- EOC activated, incident log opened
- Standard Operating Procedures implemented using checklists
- Tasks assigned according to plan
- Resource allocation (tracked in log)
- Task performance (tracked in log)
- Status briefings and updates
In order to manage all of the response and recovery management processes, Missouri State University will need a strong information management system that can provide two-way communication, track multiple incidents and responses, and generate automated responses and recovery checklists. It must be robust and flexible enough to perform numerous critical functions yet easy enough to use during a crisis. The information management system should perform the following functions:
- Operate an Alert Network
- Event Alert Evaluation and Triage
- Incident Logging
- Team Tasking
- Resource Deployment and Monitoring
- Status Boards
- Executive Briefings
In addition to the information management system, the following requirements must be taken into consideration in choosing an EOC location.
- Secured entry
- Vehicle access
- ADA compliant
- Emergency generator
- Conditioned UPS power
- Communications capability
- Internal communications
- External communications
- Public communications
- Supplies and Equipment
- After assessing the various requirements of an EOC facility, the sub-committee recommends the JQH Arena as the primary EOC location and the Meyer Alumni Center as the alternate EOC location.
- Make sure each facility has an appropriately sized emergency generator and determine appropriate locations for conditioned UPS power.
- Provide redundant communication paths so voice and data communications will remain operative in at least one of the EOCs in an emergency.
- Upgrade telephone system and networking equipment to accommodate redundancy to both EOC locations.
- Provide backup Internet connections to each EOC in the event the University’s primary Internet feed is out of service.
- Determine the physical design and space layout of each EOC.
- Determine the organization and staffing requirements.
- Determine communication equipment needs such as telephones, data, fax machines, radios, cable TV, etc.
- Determine needs for furnishings, furniture, and supplies.
- Establish an EOC organization chart.
- Establish EOC Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
- Establish Emergency Operations Center Guidelines.
- Establish EOC training, exercises, and drills.
Because of a grant received through the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), the JQH Arena will have sufficient generator capacity. As noted in the Task Force’s Phase I report, $100,000 will be required to acquire an appropriately-sized generator for the Meyer Alumni Center. Also, $100,000 in one-time expenses and $20,000 in ongoing costs will be needed to provide redundant communication paths, to upgrade the telephone system and networking equipment in the EOC locations, as well as to provide backup Internet connections to each EOC. These latter amounts will be funded from the Telecommunications budget.
The committee reviewed the existing Civil Disorders/Demonstrations chapter in the current Emergency Response Plan and does not feel modifications to the existing policy are necessary at this time.
The committee solicited feedback from the Disability Services Advisory Committee (DSAC) for its recommendations on disability access. The group did a nice job delineating resources and provided possible strategies to be imbedded in the Emergency Response Plan. This report is included in its entirety in Appendix A. The Task Force believes the University may wish to further review and offer guidance concerning the DSAC proposals and that they be considered for implementation as appropriate.