Just this past week FEMA released two (2) Emergency Operations Center (EOC) toolkit documents: EOC How-to Quick Reference Guide and the EOC Reference and Resources Tool. Both documents apply an all-hazards approach in its concepts, processes, and principles. I wish these documents were around when I first became an emergency manager back in 2011 when I had no idea how to set-up or manage a city EOC.
The How-to Quick Reference Guide provides state, local, tribal, and territorial jurisdictions with information and guidance to setting up, operating, maintaining, and demobilizing an EOC that successfully meets the jurisdiction’s needs and capabilities. The Guide reviews the preliminary assessments that are needed to see if you truly need to establish an EOC; site selection of your EOC; capabilities and requirements; room design; information management systems (cybersecurity); EOC management and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs); planning, training/exercises (should have these at least twice a year) and resource management during an incident. Additionally, in the guide there are abbreviations, a glossary, references and resources, and an annex to assist you or your coworkers.
The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) References and Resources Tool is a two-page document that provides EOC leaders and staff with a set of best practices, checklists, references, links, and essential guidance related to EOC operations and administration. There are a few links that you can click on for: EOC-related Training (FEMA courses); EOC Skillsets and User Guide; EOC How-to Quick Reference Guide; EOC Resources (Core Components); COVID-19 Pandemic Operational Guidance and All-Hazards Incident Response and Recovery.
Instead of learning the hard way to set up an EOC, my suggestion is to review these documents, get buy-in from other members of your jurisdiction and establish an EOC that meets your needs and can communicate with your county, state, tribal, territorial, and federal EOCs.
Assistant Chief Jo-Ann Lorber: member of the IAFC, the Emergency Management Committee and chair of the IAFC Executive Fire Officers Section.