None of us like to think about the possibility of a disaster striking our home, but the truth is it happens every day. Hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, bombings, nuclear meltdowns, floods, tsunamis — the world is a dangerous place, and we need to be prepared. Emergency operation centers can help your community be prepared for disaster when it strikes.
But putting together an EOC is about more than sticking a few MREs and some water bottles in a basement. It’s a complex process that requires preparing for a variety of potential issues.
Read on to discover the ultimate EOC checklist so you can be prepared for the worst.
Why Do You Need an EOC Checklist?
Having emergency operation centers prepped and ready to go is crucial when disaster strikes. People will need a place to go and resources once they reach that place, and you won’t be able to get those resources when the entire infrastructure around you is destroyed. You need to anticipate all those needs before the hurricane, tornado, earthquake, fire, or other disaster strikes.
This is where the EOC checklist comes into play. This checklist takes a look at everything an EOC will need in case it’s ever called into use. It can help you figure out what current EOCs are lacking and determine which spaces will work best for new EOC locations.
The first thing you need to look at for an EOC is the facility features. Where is the EOC or potential EOC located — is it in a rural, suburban, or urban area, and is it near any government buildings? Is it in a place where extra support can be brought in if things get out of hand?
You also need to determine if the EOC is structurally secure or if it’s in a high-risk area. Does the building have a basement, and is it located near a tree line? Does it have enough space to house the appropriate number of people, and does it have a space that can become a dedicated operations or communication center?
Your EOC needs to be able to survive whatever natural disaster it’s sheltering people from or it does no good. It also needs to survive any disasters that may happen as a domino effect of the original problem. Check whether it’s in an area that’s prone to fires, flooding, or hazardous material spillage.
You need to check whether the EOC is structurally sound enough to stand up to natural disasters. It needs to have a protection plan for explosions or chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear agents. And you should take a look at whether the space is above or below ground.
Aside from being secure against disasters, your EOC should also be secure against manmade threats. You can’t have people gathered after a disaster and then have a mass shooter come in and kill dozens of people. Your facility should be in a secure area and have appropriate security measures.
How is access to your EOC controlled, and who has access to those controls? Are there security cameras and sensors at the entrances? If some threat comes up, can security be ramped up or is it always as is?
After a disaster, there’s no telling how long a group of people may need to stay in a shelter. It could be a few hours, or it could be weeks or months. Your EOC should be prepared to house a large group of people for an extended period of time.
First and foremost, does your EOC have food and access to running water that will continue to work even after a natural disaster? Are there backup power systems in place in case the electricity goes out? Are there HVAC systems to keep conditions inside livable?
One of the most important things after a natural disaster is to get the infrastructure working again as soon as possible. Your EOC may be a crucial part of that, so it needs to be prepared to handle operating in conjunction with other shelters. This will also be important to making sure you get the resources you need in the aftermath of the disaster.
Do you have a system to monitor communications of key emergency services in your area? Can you establish communication with these services after a major disaster? You should be able to make contact with local police, fire departments, EMTs, HAZMAT teams, public works, and more.
Even if you have the best disaster preparedness plan in the world, things don’t go according to plan. Your EOC has to be able to adapt as different issues arise after a disaster. Flexibility is crucial to keeping operations running as smoothly as they can.
If your EOC space is compromised, do you have an alternate EOC space on standby that you can use? Are you able to keep operating even if emergency response services aren’t able to get to you for some reason? Can your operation scale up or down to handle the number of people who wind up at your shelter?
Get Your EOC Prepped
Having well-prepared EOC facilities can save lives after a disaster. You need to make sure you anticipate all your needs and ask every question you can think of long before the disaster hits. That way you’ll be prepared to meet the needs of your community should the need ever arise.
If you’d like to get help getting your EOC set up for a disaster, reach out to us at Comprehensive Communication Services. We provide everything from mobile command centers and air shelters to rentals and LTE service. Contact us today and start getting prepared for the worst so you can make sure the best comes out of it.