Emergency Operations Center

The EOC provides a central location from which government at any level can provide inter-agency coordination and executive decision making in support of an incident response.

An EOC is a gathering place for operations, monitoring, communications, warning systems, and decision making. Decisionmaking at the EOC affects the incident response as well as the public response. The decisions made at the EOC are not tactical decisions, however. Tactical decisions are made by the Incident Commander and the Command Staff at the incident scene.

The EOC does not command or control the on-scene response. The EOC carries out the coordination function through:

  • Information collection and evaluation.
  • Priority setting.
  • Resource management.

There are three modes of operations in the EOC:

  1. Standby – Daily status, no active incidents or weather but systems remain ready.
  2. Partial Activation – Limited personnel monitoring or managing a local event, weather situation or smaller emergency incident.
  3. Full Activation – Numerous parties are working from the EOC as a major event is expected or has occurred.

Individuals from the following departments may be called upon to fulfill a critical role in the EOC:

  • Law Enforcement
  • Fire Service
  • E911 and Emergency Dispatches
  • Public Health
  • Public works or Departments of Transportations 
  • Non- Government Organizations (NGO'S)

  • Elected and Appointed Officials

As you may expect, the EOC can be a very busy place but it is this necessary coordination between many community stakeholders that can most effectively handle a crisis.

Below is an example of emergency management and the EOC in Fairfax County, VA: