Environmental Engineering Reference
In-Depth Information
Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs)
An EOC is the physical location where a predefined team of responders assem-
bles and operates from during an emergency to coordinate response and recovery
actions and resources. These centers may alternatively be called command cen-
ters, 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 are facilitated. 7
All but very small plants should establish an EOC from which response activ-
ities can be directed and coordinated whenever a major emergency is declared
or anticipated. Upon declaration of an emergency, the emergency management
staff, including the highest-ranking person in charge of the operation, will activate
the EOC. The EOC should be equipped with adequate communication systems
such as telephones, radios, and other equipment to allow unhampered com-
munication with the site response teams, external agencies, and other response
A properly designed 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, and meetings. The EOC can optimize communi-
cation and coordination by effective information management and presentation.
The EOC should be located where the risk of exposure to accidental releases is
minimal. When possible, it should also be located close to routes easily reached
by response personnel. Only a limited and prearranged number of people should
be admitted to the EOC. This eliminates unnecessary interference and reduces
The EOC should be designed to protect its occupants against releases, espe-
cially against infiltration of toxic vapors. A small meteorological station (or at
least a wind sock) should be located nearby to monitor wind direction and veloc-
ity. The EOC should have an uninterruptible power supply or at least backup
power for lighting and electric communication system operation. The EOC should
always be ready for operation. It need not be a single-purpose room; a conference
room can be easily adapted for this purpose, provided it is maintained for EOC
operations as well.
Media Center
A media center is a designated room located on or near plant property where
representatives of the various news media would be admitted during an emer-
gency. This center should be located near the plant entrance and be the only area
accessible to news reporters. This limits access to the facility for all nonessential
The public affairs officer should ensure that the necessary media material is
stored at or near the media center. Such material should include a fact sheet on
the facility describing the number of employees, annual payroll, taxes paid to
the community, a simple description of the plant processes, consumer products
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