Running head: OPERATION CENTER
Emergency Operation Center
Oluwafunmike Omasere (5762742)
American Public University (EDMG 503)
Dr. Robert Ditch
June 30, 2019
In regards to the Emergency Operations Center, "Natural disasters around the world are
occurring at an alarming rate (Slocum, n.d.)". Slocum adds that some of the disasters include:
earthquakes, wildfires, cyclones, mass flooding, and property damage (Slocum, n.d.). As a
nation, it is imperative for preparedness when a disaster strikes. One strategy we employ in the
Nation's Capital is the utilization of an emergency operation center (EOC). The purpose of this
paper is to briefly look at the role of emergency managers in the EOC in Washington, DC. We
will look at the following: the purpose of EOC, the role of an emergency manager, the structure
of the EOC, the collaboration of government, non-governmental, community and stakeholders
and the Pros and Cons. The reader will get a brief understanding of the importance and function
of the emergency manager as it relates to the EOC during a natural or human-made disaster.
The Role of the Emergency Manager
The first objective we will explore is the role of an Emergency Manager during a disaster.
The primary role of an emergency manager is to ensure the safety of a community by protecting
and preserving lives and properties (Charpentier, n.d.). Charpentier adds they act as the lead to
develop relationships with agencies that will be of assistance in the time of a natural or humanmade disaster (Charpentier, n.d). Partnerships developed before a disaster are critical to the
overall outcome of a tragic event. Some disaster's they encounter the following: flooding,
hurricanes, tornadoes, snow emergencies, wildfires, threats to the safety of a nation, etc.
They work in coordination with government, non-government organization, and the
community to ensure preparedness; through round-table discussion, exercises, and training to
depict a real event. The information gain from the exercises, allow them to find the flaws in the
system, and make the needed changes. By having all the entities participate, it provides an
understanding of their role and responsibilities. It creates an environment for accountability,
teamwork, and growth.
The emergency manager works in direct connection with the Mayor or authority in the
state or jurisdiction. They have a direct line of communication to request resources and
assistance. They must be able to provide the authority with up-to-date and time-sensitive
information. The Mayor or Authority depends on the emergency manager to work swiftly,
smartly, and mitigate the problem with the government interest and finance in mind. While the
goal is to mitigate the situation, the financial impact of the jurisdiction should be a consideration
as plans are developed.
The last valuable asset to the emergency manager is media relations. The media works in
conjunction with the emergency manager to share vital information to the public during a
disastrous event (Charpentier, n.d). Charpentier adds the media can provide warnings, direction,
and updates to the public through multiple mediums at once. They enhance public awareness,
which creates a sense of calmness, instead of panic. Their involvement ensures accurate and
time-sensitive information is given instead of non-factual information.
In closing, all disastrous events involve a great deal of teamwork. It is imperative that the
emergency manager has knowledge and expertise in disaster management; this ensures the
success of any natural or human-made disaster.
The Purpose of Emergency Operation Center
We will briefly discuss the purpose of the Emergency Operation Center (EOC). The EOC
was developed to provide a location where all entities responsible for public safety, planning,
response, and recovery could meet to discuss strategies to mitigate a natural or human-made
disaster. It is a central command location, where the emergency manager of the county or state
collaborates with key stakeholders in the event of a catastrophic event. It is designed to allow
input from agencies to ensure minimal loss of lives, property, government, non-governmental
(NGO), and private resources.
In my opinion, it can be referred to as the diagnostic center. It looks at all aspects of the
incident and then develops incident action plans on the best strategies to mitigate. It uses all the
resources in the central hub, to prioritize and make a decision. For instance, when a car goes in
for servicing, a diagnostic test is given. The diagnostic test reveals all the things needed to get
the car functioning properly. The mechanic is required to read the test, consult with colleagues
and the owner of the vehicle; to develop a service plan. Once this occurs, a detailed plan is
created based on immediate needs. A mechanic plays a similar role as the emergency manager;
they allow all the stakeholders in the room the opportunity to diagnose the natural or humanmade disaster and develop a plan. This approach allows for a smooth transition during a disaster.
While the emergency manager is responsible for the overall outcome of the incident, they
must collaborate to ensure the success of a disaster. We will quickly examine the structure of the
EOC in Washington, DC. The emergency manager collaborates with the following: government
organizations federal government organizations; regional corporations, organizations, and
partnerships. They work with a total of fourteen (14) – District of Columbia government
agencies, nine (9) - Federal government agencies and twenty-nine (29) - Regional corporations,
organizations and partnerships (The District of Columbia Homeland Security and Emergency
Management Agency. (n.d). The EOC room is developed to accommodate one (1) representative
from each of the above mention organizations. The structure of the EOC room allows all parties
to communicate, share vital information, and implement the best strategies to mitigate an
In Washington, DC, a local emergency planning council was developed to function in the
EOC. They were established to ensure readiness in the community, preplan for significant events
and disaster. The partnership ensures the community is ready to respond, recover, prevent, and
mitigate all aspects of a disaster. We will briefly look at some of the District of Columbia (D.C.)
government agencies, federal government agencies and private partners, utilize in D.C.
Metropolitan area. All these entities collaborate with the emergency manager to ensure resiliency
by utilizing the Whole community approach.
District of Columbia Government
The EOC Manager has created a partnership with D.C. Government agencies to include:
Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA), Department of Energy and
Environment, Department of Health (DOH), Department of Human Services (DHS), District
Department of Transportation (DOT), Department of Behavioral Health (DBH), Fire and
Emergency Medical Services Department (FEMS), Homeland Security and Emergency
Management Agency (HSEMA), Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), Office of Planning,
Office of Policy and Legislative Affairs, Office of the Attorney General (OAG), Mayor's Office
of Community Affairs and District of Columbia National Guard. All these agencies bring a
different specialty to disaster management and mitigation. They work as a liaison to the
emergency manager by providing expertise information from their agency. Most agencies
provide senior members to work in the EOC to ensure they are an asset to the successful
operation. Due to the vast number of agencies, we will quickly look at two (2) of the above
We will explore the role of Fire, and Emergency Medical Service plays in a disaster.
First responders are considered the boots on the ground. They usually are first on the scene and
provide a clear picture of the resources needed. Within the first couple of minutes on the scene,
they decide, if the event needs to be expanded. In the fire service, they utilize the incident
command structure (ICS), as a guideline to manage the scene. This system allows for the
expansion of incidents from small to large. It allows the first responders to provide time-sensitive
information to enhance the response, mitigation, and recovery of a natural or human-made
disaster. The expertise and knowledge base of first responders, give the incident commander
crucial information; this platform presents the necessary information to activate the EOC. In
closing, all responders understand the importance of sharing information, collaboration, and
teamwork during an incident. This makes them a vital asset to disastrous events.
We will next discuss the role of law enforcement during a human-made disaster. They are
also considered first responders, but they focus on revealing the cause of the event. For instance,
if the call is for a bombing; their function is to mitigate the threat, find the sources responsible
for the incident, and manage the scene to ensure no evidence is disturbed. Most law enforcement
communities work hand in hand with Fire and Emergency Medical Services, and they share all
In the Nation's Capital, a task force has been created for law enforcement and EMS to
work in collaboration during a disaster. In most MPD response vehicle, they have a trauma kit to
treat life threats immediately, until the scene is cleared for EMS. This was developed after
several incidents occurred with a substantial loss of lives. It was determined if EMS could have
to access the victims, many more lives could have been saved.
All government agencies are essential in ensuring resiliency within their communities. They all
work in a coordinating fashion to address all the needs so that a community can return to
normalcy. In closing, each representative acts as a liaison to the emergency manager at the EOC.
The government agencies collaborate to share resources and exercise diligence in mitigating the
The EOC has partnered with the following federal government agencies: Bolling Air
Force Base, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Library of Congress, Smithsonian
Institution, US Park Service, U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing, U.S. Mint, U.S. Food, and
Drug Administration, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. They work in collaboration with the
emergency manager to provide expert information and protect their asset. Their services are not
always utilized on every disaster, but the ability to have them at the table is imperative for
success. We will briefly look at the role U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the
The EPA works to protect human health and the environment. According to the United
States Environmental Protection Agency, "EPA's emergency response program responds to oil
spills, chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear incidents and large-scale national
emergencies (The United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2017)". The EPA adds they
can oversee and implement strategies to successfully mitigate any of the hazardous incidents
(The United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2017).
Lastly, the emergency manager is considered the principal in charge of all resources.
With an exceptional understanding of the federal agencies, they must know whom to call upon
during a natural or human-made event.
Regional corporations, organizations, and partnerships
The emergency manager is also responsible for the partnership with the community,
corporation, and organizations. In the Nation's Capital, the EOC has developed a relationship
with the following organizations: American Petroleum Institute, American Red Cross, Broadcast
Media Representative, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Catholic University, Chemical
Specialties Manufacturers, Chemical Society of Washington, Commission on Social Services,
and CSX. The organizations also participate, Consortium of Universities of the Metropolitan
Washington Area, Dalecarlia Water Treatment Plant, District of Columbia Chamber of
Commerce, District of Columbia Hospital Association, District of Columbia Hotel Association,
District of Columbia Water and Sewer, Destination District of Columbia and many more. This
list may appear to be vastly significant, but as discussed previously, it takes a Whole Community
approach to prepare, respond, and mitigate natural or human-made disasters. The leaders from
these agencies mentioned above bring the required skill set to the table, to help with mitigation
In this discipline, we have learned the importance of preparedness, communication,
infrastructure, and the resources needed to mitigate a disastrous event. All of these components
mentioned above must be in place before a disaster or major incident. The emergency manager
sets the foundation for all the parties to work jointly as a team.
The Structure of the Emergency Operation Center
The structure of the emergency operation center is similar to the Incident Command
Structure (ICS) (Donahue, 2016). The emergency manager serves the role as the Incident
Commander, and the following sections are under Infrastructure Branch, Operations, Emergency
Service Branch, Human Service Branch, and Logistics. The district government agencies, federal
government agencies, and the other resources, as mention above, function in one of the sections.
As discussed previously, all the players function as liaisons to the emergency manager, and each
role play a significant part. The set-up of the EOC positions helps to alleviate free-lancing and
gives the emergency operation center the structure needed to be successful.
The Pro's and Con's of Emergency Operations Center
The mission of the emergency manager at the EOC is to coordinate with multi-agency, to
protect, secure, and ensure readiness. The operation is designed to go hitch-free, but we all know
there is no perfect world. It takes hard work, compromise, communication, and diligence to work
under one umbrella; to ensure the Nation is adequately prepared for natural and human-made
disasters. We will briefly explore some of the pros and cons, I learned during the visit to the
Emergency Operation Center.
Some of the Pros, I was privileged to learn were the value of communications,
collaboration, and the ability to have a bird's eye view on the incident. We all have learned the
value of communication in this discipline; it involves sharing data, critical information, and
dialogue for the best tactics or strategies to mitigate a situation. Communication will always be
paramount in all aspects of disaster management (Connelly, 2019).
As it relates to a bird's eye view of the operations, this is about the cameras, videos
system used throughout the city; they can access some of the scenes. It gives the EOC a virtual
look at the operations taking place on the scene and allows the insight to deploy additional units.
It also gives them the ability to recognize other threats and stop an incident from escalating. In
my opinion, the most prominent pro, I walked away with after my visit was the value of
We will explore some of the cons of the EOC and the multi-agency approach. Some of
the con's included: outdated technology, the stakeholder being territorial or bickering, and no
back-up EOC in the event of failure. The EOC has a contingency plan to move to another
location in the event of a failure, but the staff feels due to the nature of the job. They should have
an offsite location designated where they have already trained before an event (Meyer, 2016).
Similar to the one utilized by the Unified Communication division; it is a designated offsite
location, where they often utilize as a back-up center. It also functions daily, by offsite operators,
so in the event of a communication failure, they can quickly transition.
The staff feels the back-up plans in place at these current times, has many flaws. It does
not allow for a swift transition, critical time could be lost in the event of a disaster, and they
could have trouble accessing the alternate location. In my opinion, the staff has valid concerns
about the plans for the back-center. I also believe it is essential for them to incorporate training
for the transition to the alternate site. Every written plan seems to be great, but the execution of
the plan is vital to ensure it is successful.
Lastly, I believe the pros and cons should be used as a benchmark to create growth, spark
new ideas, and create better strategies to ensure preparedness as a nation.
In this paper, we discussed the role of the emergency manager in the emergency
operation center. We gained knowledge of preparation, collaboration, and steps needed to
operate with the EOC successfully. As we strive to make a positive change within this discipline,
it is imperative that we continue to do more research, implement the lessons learned, and making
ongoing changes to the infrastructure of the EOC. The knowledge and information gained
through this study create a call of action to ensure we pay it forward by redesigning the EOC
programs, engaging the community, and strengthen the partnerships.
In conclusion, I believe all these things are imperative to ensure the Nation preparedness
from any acts of terrorism, threats, disasters, or events which affect the life liberty and pursuit of
happiness entitled to our fellow Americans.
Connelly, T. (2019). Effective communication is necessary in when managing an emergency:
communication is the key to disaster management. Retrieved from URL
Charpentier, W. (n.d). What Are the Duties of Emergency Managers? CHRON. Retrieved from
Donohue, D. (2016, May). The care and feeding of the EOC. Fire Engineering. Retrieved
Slocum, L. (n.d.). The worst natural disasters of 2018. RANKER. Retrieved from URL
Meyer, C. (2016, July). A winning strategy: Building a permanent EOC at UCF. Security
Magazine. Retrieved from URL
The District of Columbia Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency. (n.d).
Retrieved from https://hsema.dc.gov/councils-and-commissions-1
The United States Environmental Protection Agency. (2017). Retrieved from URL
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