An emergency operations center (EOC) is a centralized place where government officials and representatives of emergency response agencies can go to jointly manage major emergencies and disasters. EOCs are deigned and equipped to gather and analyze incident information and organize large-scale response and recovery operations. EOCs have several levels of redundancy for critical systems such as electricity, internet and communications to ensure that they can continue operating in disaster environments when primary systems may not be available.
The current Kansas City EOC has been operational since March 1, 2004. This state-of-the-art facility was constructed on time and under budget using local sales tax dollars.
The 7,000-square-foot center features an operational area with workstations for functional groups including police, fire, health, infrastructure and finance/administration. There is also seating for GIS personnel and assisting agencies such as the Red Cross, Kansas City Power & Light and others. In addition, the facility has a unified management team room where decision-level managers convene to set objectives and share incident information, a joint information center that supports public information development, a media briefing room, classroom, kitchen and staff offices.
The EOC has a variety of technology to facilitate operations including access to radar, cameras, power outage maps and flood sensors to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information available. Web-based log-in programs record incident actions.
The Kansas City EOC is used almost every day of the workweek for meetings, training, exercises and responses to major emergencies and disasters. The EOC is activated about 20 times per year for a variety of issues including severe weather, large-scale events, and man-made incidents.
In the event that the EOC becomes damaged or otherwise unavailable during a disaster, the City maintains a small Satellite Communications Trailer. This trailer-mounted system can be taken to an unaffected facility such as a community center, school gymnasium or even a tent in a field to establish a temporary EOC. The system can be set up in approximately 30 minutes and includes satellite phones, laptop computers, projectors, printers and other peripheral equipment needed to operate.
While designed for use by the City of Kansas City for local emergencies, the EOC and Satellite Communications Trailer are available to support other levels of government and operations happening elsewhere, if requested.