Emergency Operations Center Debuts in Texas


 
 

Laura E. Jesse | | Wednesday, December 5, 2007


SAN ANTONIO, Texas-- When tens of thousands of evacuees from hurricanes Katrina and Rita flooded a makeshift shelter at the former Kelly AFB, the city had no centralized command center from which to run operations for them.

Mayor Phil Hardberger recalled meeting in a room so crammed with local, state and federal emergency management officials that people had to stand in the hallway and listen through the open door.

But with the new joint city and county emergency operations center at Brooks City-Base, which officials dedicated Monday, everyone from first responders to politicians to the media will have work space.

Probably one of the best things we have is the Web EOC, which allows us to have a current status on all of the local and regional hospitals -- how many beds they have open and which hospitals don t have space -- so we know where people can be sent, said Scott Campbell, a training officer with the city s emergency operations department.

The 36,000-square-foot facility has a large command center, offices for the city and county emergency operations staff, a media briefing room, a policy room and space for regional medical operations support. City and county voters approved the funding through public-safety bond initiatives in 2003. The city paid $20.5 million, and the county paid $4 million.

We got a chance to see the need for this during the hurricanes, Hardberger said. This is like night and day with this wonderful facility.

The building also will permanently house the city s 311 customer service call center.

The spacious command room is built in three tiers, with small work pods that can be reconfigured to make larger stations if needed. Each station has at least three phones, laptop computers and a microphone to communicate with the entire room.

The focal point of the room is three large screens where maps, hospital and emergency response statistics and other data can be projected. On either side of the screens are four flat-panel TVs, where local and cable news can be watched.

Toward the back of the room are separate work spaces for public information officers, a policy room where politicians can meet and make decisions based on tactical input from emergency coordinators, a room for 311 operators and a room for regional medical representatives.

Although many cities have dedicated emergency operations facilities, speakers at the dedication ceremony wagered that San Antonio s is among the elite.

It may not be politically correct to identify who is No. 1, but this is No. 1, said Steve McCraw, the state s director of homeland security.

ljesse@express-news.net


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: Communications and Dispatch, Industry News, Natural Disasters, Special Operations, WMD and Terrorism

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS





 

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Simulation-Based Assessment Facilitates Learning & Enhances Clinical Judgment

Simulation is an educational tool that can be used to develop and refine clinical skills of the student in a controlled environment before they progress to becoming practicing clinicians.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

NYC September 11 Commemoration

Tolling of the bell begins the anniversary ceremony.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Wrong Fuel Cited in New Mexico Air Ambulance Crash

Plane received jet fuel instead of aviation fuel.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Wake County EMS PAT

Physical ability test demonstration.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

NYC Sept. 11 Anniversary

View images from the ceremony at Ground Zero.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

13th Anniversary of Sept. 11 Terror Attack

The nation remembers the fallen.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Building Explosion, Collapse in Paris Suburb

Death toll rises to eight after blast in Rosny-sous-Bois.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >