An Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is a central location from which local governments can provide interagency coordination and executive decision making in support of incident response and recovery operations. The purpose of the EOC is to provide a centralized location where public safety, emergency response, and support agencies coordinate planning, preparedness, and response activities.
The EOC does not command or control on-scene response efforts, but does carry out the coordination functions through:
1. Collecting, evaluating and disseminating incident information;
2. Analyzing jurisdictional impacts and setting priority actions; and
3. Managing requests, procurement and utilization of resources.
The decisions made through the EOC are designed to be broad in scope and offer general guidance on priorities. Information is disseminated through the EOC Manager and tactical decisions are coordinated from field response personnel. The EOC serves as a coordinated link between the Chief Elected Official (CEO) of each jurisdiction and the field personnel coordinating the execution of event priorities.
Chatham County has two EOCs. One is located at the Old Courthouse on Bull Street in Savannah and has 87 workstations. This is the primary EOC for the County and remains at a state of readiness to support immediate response to emergencies. The alternate EOC is located at the County Annex off Police Memorial Drive and has 65 workstations. This EOC is considered to be a warm facility, as it does take preparations and movement of equipment to get it to a functional state.
CEMA offers numerous training opportunities for individuals who staff the EOC. Whether it be a fire captain or a volunteer, each individual must be properly trained on what the EOC is, how it supports events and what to expect when called to work an activation.
Working inside an EOC can be challenging, exciting and rewarding. People working in the EOC provide invaluable support to responders on the ground, as well as a service to their community.