Emergency Operations Centers
by Dwayne Phillips
Most “Emergency Operations Centers” function to show that the emergency operations center has electricity. Does that describe yours?
A recent serious weather event caused me to interact with an Emergency Operations Center or EOC. The website for that place proclaimed quite proudly how it was built to withstand such serious weather events. And it did! No doubt this center was built with funds from our Federal government How nice. Free!
Anyways, I called the EOC and talked to a nice person. It was nice to do so as no other local phones were working due to the weather event. The EOC maintained communications. I told the nice person about the help I needed in arranging aid to locals. I was told to call the commercial providers of such aid. I reminded the nice person at the EOC that the local phones were all out (except, of course, for the EOC). I asked that someone drive out and knock on the door and … “Just call them yourself,” I was told.
Okay, no surprises. In my past, I have encountered this same thing. The EOC’s job is to manage the EOC in case of an E(mergency). Seems the emergency is for everyone else, not the EOC.
And now we reach the part of this blog post where we talk to ourselves. If you are a manager and are charged with COOP (Continuity of OPerations), consider your emergency plans. (1) Are you planning to continue the operations of your emergency operations? (2) Are you planning to provide aid to anyone else?
Questions (1) and (2) above are quite different. Most emergency planning is for (1), not (2). That is a shame. Come on folks, let’s do better.