A critical part of the emergency
involves preparing to operate an Emergency Operations Center.
A well-designed EOC can greatly benefit the coordination of
response and recovery activities. Clear operating procedures, staff
roles, and responsibilities are required as is an effective
workspace and a safe location.
EOC Consulting Services
All Hands Emergency Management Consulting
provides Emergency Operation Center (EOC) Review and EOC Vulnerability and Capability Assessment
services. They review your existing EOC and help you improve it both physically and operationally including development of your EOC organization, writing your Operations Manual, and developing Staff Action Guides for each EOC Position.
They will also help you with training, software selection, and EOC design services.
What is an EOC?
Definition: An EOC is the physical location where an
organization comes together during an emergency to coordinate
response and recovery actions and resources. These centers may
alternatively be called command centers, situation rooms, war rooms,
crisis management centers, or other similar terms. Regardless of the
term, this is where the coordination of information and resources
takes place. The EOC is not an incident command post; rather, it is
the operations center where coordination and management decisions
A properly designed Emergency Operations
Centers (EOC) should serve as an effective and efficient facility
for coordinating emergency response efforts. An EOC may serve a
number of uses including operations, training, meetings and other
uses. The EOC can optimize communication and coordination by
effective information management and presentation.
The Incident Command System (ICS) provides a
management structure and system for conducting emergency operations.
It is applicable to small scale daily operational activities as well
as major mobilizations. ICS, provides EOC and operational
staff with a standardized operational
structure and common terminology. Because of this, ICS provides a useful and flexible
management system that is particularly adaptable to incidents
involving multi-jurisdictional or multi-disciplinary responses. ICS
provides the flexibility needed to rapidly activate and establish an
organizational format around the functions that need to be
See a white paper on the ICS in Word
Managing response and recovery
operations involves a tremendous amount of information. The
EOC's job is to
collect this information and to manage and control event information and
response activities. Typically, the information flow will look
something like this:
1. Incident occurs
2. Notification sent to staff
3. Status evaluated by EOC managers
4. EOC activated, Incident Log opened
5. SOPs implemented using checklists
6. Tasks assigned according to plan
7. Resource allocation (tracked in log)
8. Task performance (tracked in log)
9. Status briefings and updates to stakeholders
All of this information will need to be managed and documented.
A strong information management system will be a must. Emergency Managers need to provide a robust command, control,
and monitoring function that will:
- Above all else - be
easy and efficient to use
- Collect failure
information to allow rapid and early contingency response
- Track multiple
incidents and resources
activities across the enterprise
Good information management tools can help
contingency managers create and organize their plans as well as in
exercising and executing them. While contingency plans often end up
in binders or files, a good information management system can make
plans and supportive materials easily available to managers.
Of course, in operating our command center, good
command center software will make your life much easier. The
software should be able to perform all of the following functions:
- Operate an Alert
- Event Alert
Evaluation and Triage
- Incident Logging
- Team Tasking
- Resource Deployment
- Status Boards
- Executive Briefings
The Ideal Information System
The ideal EOC would be an easy to use and
robust information and decision management system that provides:
- Central command and
- Early alert
- Functionality as a
- Secure data sharing
over the Internet and other networks.
- Event tracking and
- SOP and contingency
plan check-off lists
- Resource management
- Documentation of
Software can help you effectively manage the vast amount of information that is generated during a crisis. The
ideal information system would create a "virtual
emergency operations center", turning every desktop in the organization
into an intelligence-gathering and reporting workstation. The information management system must be able to provide:
Two-way communications…a structured mechanism for receiving and sending information. Standard
categorizations will be needed to route reports to the appropriate
position in the Command Center. Emergency managers should be
able to centrally receive and evaluate this event information from
both inside and outside the enterprise. The
system should help manage this information in real-time and keep
records of events as they unfold.
Automated response and recovery checklists... for all of their major
functions to ensure that the recovery is complete. The key is to put
an automated checklist in the hands of the right person anywhere and
everywhere in the organization. Make it easy for them to send the
checklist results as data and make it easy for managers to see the
progress in executive reports.
Alert notifications… with a sophisticated message sorting and
distribution capability so managers can track and log multiple and
varied notifications and ensure that the right information gets to
the right individual.
Strong management will be needed during EOC operations. EOCs should be activated as soon as possible to ensure
that rapid decision making can occur. During the
incident response phase, the real-time tracking of incidents and
response resources is critical. Resources may be in short supply while multiple requests
for services pile up. An operations log capability in needed to
fulfill the requirement of documenting, tracking, and managing the
response to an infinite number of concurrent incidents.
You can be certain that good planning and
preparedness now will improve emergency response and speed
the recovery process. Having good plans in place, drilling on them
and using a robust information management system to implement and
track their execution will prove to be invaluable, no matter what
you need assistance, DavisLogic provides EOC software selection and implementation services. Contact
us for more information.
Alternatives For Training Emergency Management Command
Making Your Command Center
a Success (Word Document)
Command Centers (Risk Management Magazine)
The Incident Command System (ICS) in
Systems for Crisis Management in Areas of Controversy
Emergency Operations Center Software
Alert Technology offers
Ops Center. A complete web-based incident management tool.
Blue292 offers a Emergency
Management application and provides personal protection
equipment and safety supplies.
offers a web-based product by the same name.
integrators are the makers of WebEOC
- designed to bring real-time emergency information management to
any size Emergency Operations Center.
E-team provides an Internet
system that runs on Lotus Notes.
Essential Technologies offers Incident
Master, another Web-based crisis management application.
touts an incident driven design.
The Public Safety Group offers a system called EM/2000.
Strohl Systems makes business continuity software including Incident
Alertcast - Offers an
emergency notification service that facilitates contingency
planning, emergency preparedness, and disaster recovery.
Technologies offers RapidReach - Automated Notification System.
Alert Network, Inc. (CAN) is
a high-speed, telephone emergency notification company that gives
you the ability to get critical information to large numbers or a
precise number of people in a short period of time. CAN uses the
latest in computer, telephone and digitized voice technology.
E-Alert USA - a fee-based
service that provides emergency notification messages via any e-mail
E-mail Network - a free service that provides notification of an
emergency by e-mail, cell phone or pager
from local, regional and national agencies.
Notification System - automated notification system for
emergency and non-emergency communications.
Notification Server - designed to enable large groups of users
carrying a diverse set of wired and wireless devices to receive an
alpha message quickly and concisely from a single inbound message.
Notification - emergency alerting and warning systems for mass
notification, first response and critical communications.
All Hands Consulting
offers an array of EOC
and emergency management services that can assist customers in maximizing the effectiveness of
their EOC. All Hands has developed a comprehensive EOC
Review methodology using a 44-page assessment tool that provides
a complete report and comprehensive recommendations for
PowerPoint Presentation on Designing
MapServer - great topographical maps for any location.