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Section 4 Emergency Operations Center

Section 4 Emergency Operations Center (EOC)

4.1 Overview

The EMT and EOC processes are interlocking activities that allow for training on emergency management principles and activities, planning for known threats, and response and recovery from active incidents. These processes are valuable throughout the life cycle of an incident, from the planning for an anticipated event through recovery.

An EOC is as much about process as it is about a physical location. Effective management of an incident depends upon the policies, practices and processes that allow for comprehensive and collaborative problem-solving. A review of after action reports post-incident finds that problems related to the management of an incident are rarely the result of a lack of resources. The lack of effectiveness at the management level is often the issue.

In an incident where specific tactical operations are not required by first responders, the management of the incident takes place at the EMT/EOC level with the chair, or designee, the university incident commander.

In an incident requiring a tactical response, appropriate UPD staff will be the incident commander at the scene or will be the university’s on-scene representative if the incident requires a unified command. When a unified command is used, the university’s on-site incident commander will provide information to the EOC. This information assists the university in its general response to the incident and allows for an effective university response and guides mitigation and recovery activities. The chair or designee is responsible for the coordination of the university’s non-tactical response to the incident.

The primary EOC is located in room 100 of the Facilities and Services Building. This facility has the ability to provide building-wide backup power generation.

Two alternative EOCs exist on campus. The first is in room 104 of Morrill Hall. The second is located in the UPD training room. The UPD facility has the ability to provide building wide backup power generation.

The primary and Morrill Hall EOCs provides meeting space for the team and adequate accommodations for media, individual and small group needs.

The emergency management specialist will ensure that Facilities and Services and Morrill Hall sites are maintained at a level of operation readiness. The UPD is responsible for the operational readiness of the EOC located in its facility. Operation readiness includes access to phones, computers, faxes, printers and supplies.

4.2       Record of Changes

The Emergency Management Specialist is responsible for distributing all revised or updated planning documents to all departments, agencies and individuals tasked in those documents.

DATE OF CHANGE

CHANGE(S) ENTERED BY

DATE ENTERED

SUMMARY OF

CHANGES

 

 

 

 

4.3       Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Activation

The EMT chair, or designee, will determine the need for a partial or full activation of the EMT and/or EOC. Activation of the EMT or EOC is dependent on the nature of an event. If the threat is known and there is an opportunity for planning, the chair may partially activate the EMT to initiate the planning process and add additional members as the planning progresses. The EMT planning process may transform into an EOC operation when the expected event is imminent. Spontaneous events that do not allow time for planning may result in the immediate activation and opening of the EOC.

The EMT chair, or designee, notifies EMT members of the activation and request their attendance at the EOC. The request will provide information of the time of the meeting and incident addressed. The emergency management specialist will ensure the EOC is prepared for activation.

It is likely that some EMT members will be unable reach the EOC immediately. Therefore, those in attendance will perform the role of others until they arrive or a suitable replacement is available.

At the EOC, the team determines the scope of a disaster, mitigation, response and recovery actions undertaken. If not done so earlier by the chair, he/she will determine if the provost/president should be informed and make the notification.

Upon activation all request for resources will be tracked to assure their efficient use to enhance the efficiency of the response, to track cost and to prepare for the eventual demobilization.

4.4       EOC Functions

Through coordination of the EMT chair, or designee, the EOC process is largely communicative, designed to receive, evaluate and act upon information from the on-scene command post, if one exists, from team members and other sources. This process allows for constant updates to provide current situational awareness that allows for the efficient use of internal and external resources.

EOC operations are collegial, drawing on the expertise of the team members in a manner that identifies and addresses operational concerns, where they are addressed through the incident’s life cycle from preparation through full recovery.

Using the information at hand, team members will discuss the current situation, potential changes to the situation and anticipate activities to address real and potential changes to the incident. Mitigation, response and recovery activities will be discussed, determined and acted upon.

Dependent on the type and duration of an incident, additional staff may be added to the EMT/EOC. These may include a purchasing specialist or subject-matter experts related to the incident. Additional support staff may be added to serve in a variety of roles to include scribes and runners.

4.5       Resource Management

Team members identify resources needed for a specific mitigation, response or recovery activities in their area of responsibility. If needed resources are not readily available at the departmental level, a request for university support is made through the EOC process.

Resource requests are triaged and prioritized according to mitigation, response and recovery objectives. If approved resource requests cannot be met by the university, the EMT chair, or designee, will request the resources through the SEOC if the Center has been activated. If the Center has not been activated the request go through the South Dakota Board of Regents Office in Pierre. 

A representative from Finance and Business Services approves funding for high-value resources. EOC support staff will assist in the documentation of purchasing and usage of purchased resources. Departments will track expenses to include personnel, inventoried resources consumed, and purchased equipment and supplies expended during the life cycle of the incident. Tracking expenses associated with the management of the incident will allow for possible recovery of expenses.

The emergency management specialist is responsible for documenting EMT/EOC activities. See EOC form binder within the EOC for documentation forms.

4.6       Communications

With the exception of an initial emergency notification, which may be provided by the UPD, all messages related to the incident will be developed as an EMT/EOC process. With input and approval from the team, University Marketing and Communications is responsible for crafting internal and external communications. Delivery methods of messages will depend on the nature of the incident and the message.

UMC is responsible for news releases, responses to media inquiries and monitoring broadcast, print and social media. They will inform the team of conflicting or incorrect information in the media and recommend how to respond to inaccurate information. See university policy 10:3 Community Notification of Potential, Imminent or Active Threat to the Community.

4.7       Prioritization of Objective

In an emergency, the university has the following priorities, in order, they are:

  • Protection of life and health safety;
  • Protection of critical infrastructure and facilities; and
  • Protection of research, and the maintenance or restoration of the ability to provide instruction.

Mitigation, preparation, response and recovery activities will be prioritized according to university priorities.

4.8       Creating Objectives

Defining clear and measurable objectives are crucial activities in the response to an incident. Objectives define actions to be undertaken in a specified time frames. There may be several defined objectives in a specific operational period. Some objectives will be reached within an operation time frame while others may span several time frames. These objectives guide operational activities for a specific time period within the incident life cycle. EMT/EOC discussions will identify a range of activities and required resources. Objectives should be clear and well communicated. For example, if a flood is anticipated, a reasonable objective would be to elevate property and equipment off the floor in low-lying areas. Items of value that cannot be moved should be sandbagged or otherwise protected. Once an objective has been identified, it will be tracked so progress can be documented. Issues causing a delay in reaching an objective shall be noted and addressed. Completion of an objective should be documented and shared among the team as other objectives may be dependent upon completion of earlier objectives.

4.9       Staffing

When the EMT meets to prepare for a known event, the meeting might last a specified length of time. The team may be called back later to discuss actions items identified at the previous meeting. When an EOC is activated in anticipation of an event or for a spontaneous incident, the duration of the event may be unknown. Generally, the EOC will remain active through the life cycle of the event and may have several days of continuous activation. The nature of the event will determine the level of staffing. Some events may require full activation through the duration of the event while others warrant partial staffing.

Understanding the limits of a person’s ability to function effectively and safely degrade over time, a systematic process, based upon a 12-hour operation periods, will be used to rotate staff through the EOC. When a protracted EOC activation is anticipated. EMT/EOC members have identified their alternates. At the end of the operational time period, both the primary and alternates will be involved in a briefing to ensure all EOC participants have the same information and objectives. A review of objectives for the current operational period will be conducted. Status of the objectives will be evaluated and discussed. Additional objects will be discussed and implemented for the next operation time period. All EOC participants will have an opportunity to discuss developments and/or concerns in their areas. The emergency management specialist will document briefing discussions.

EMT/EOC alternates have the same power and authority to take action and commit resources as the primary member they have replaced.

4.10     EOC Position Functions

EOC members have specificsupport requirements and responsibilities to activate, open and operate within the EOC. Position requirements and responsibilities are available in Appendix N.
4.11     After Action Report

The emergency management specialist will draft an After Action Report (AAR) immediately after the closing of the EOC. The AAR will include an evaluation of EOC activation, communications, resource management, staffing and management of objectives. The AAR will identify strengths and weakness of the process and identify areas that need additional training, policy clarification, staffing and resources.

The vice president for technology and safety will review the AAR. The document will then be provided to the EMT for discussion, clarification and identification of action steps to address identified concerns.