How Emergency Operations Centers are Using Technology During COVID-19 Crisis

Spinitar’s Christopher Jenkins outlines the role AV integrators can play in helping government leaders make better, quicker decisions when they’re needed.

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The COVID-19 global pandemic crisis has impacted nearly every function of life. Individuals have drastically modified daily routines and many professionals have transitioned to remote working environments in order to continue business operations.

As the virus continues to expand at a global level, professionals in all fields continue to adapt to changing workplace conditions. While many businesses have shut down operations indefinitely, other functions of society have continued to venture onward.

In the midst of a global health crisis, operation centers play a vital role in emergency command communications. Fire and emergency medical services (EMS) are tasked with protecting the public health at all costs.

The problem is that EMS and first responder teams must strike a balance between adhering to social distancing guidelines and maintaining operational efficiency.

These professionals typically operate in close proximity but have since modified work environments due to COVID-19 concerns.

Government operational communications play a pivotal role in managing public health and well-being. As such, emergency operation centers function as central command units responsible for handling disaster management.

They provide communication tools to help share information amongst local, state, and federal government agencies. Recently, EOCs have undergone a transformation towards creating virtual emergency response teams and command centers.

The Transformation of Emergency Operation Centers

Emergency response services are a critical component of maintaining public health and safety. Responding in a timely manner is an invaluable tool for saving lives and communication is the most critical element of EOC effectiveness.

At the local level, EOC technology must encourage collaboration as a means of optimizing response strategies. Fire, EMS, and medical teams must operate synchronously to help ensure public welfare.

Emergency operation centers function as unified teams responsible for gathering and disseminating critical information to first responders for the sake of protecting life and public property.

As communication hubs, they allow emergency essential professionals to perform their duties in a more cohesive and efficient manner. During times of crisis, an EOC must be running at optimal efficiency levels.

Social distancing regulations have paved the way for creating and utilizing mobile command centers. As a result, virtual EOC tools have become a vital element for continuing operations.

Advanced Technology Solutions for EOCs

Video walls have become a useful tool for optimizing emergency operations and displaying real-time data from governmental and media sources.

Management teams can simultaneously display video of all team members helping to encourage team communication and collaboration.

Remote teams can implement mobile command centers from any location while distributing critical information to first responders.

Emergency operation centers should be designed in a manner that enables coordination among dispatchers. Virtual EOCs should operate at maximum efficiency levels regardless of physical location.

Video conferencing applications such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams can help ease the transition without having individuals stationed in traditional workspaces. People can stay connected by utilizing an array of advanced telecommunication solutions.

Many organizations have benefited from implementing EOC technology solutions. The City of Chandler, Arizona, Fire Department is one such organization that has taken the next step towards enhancing their technological AV solutions.

As the technical hub of their department—the Chandler Fire Emergency Operations Center (CFEOC) supports first responders through communication and collaboration.

Understanding the importance of modern technology—the department took action to seek out AV vendors to upgrade internal systems.

As is the case with the current COVID-19 pandemic crisis—EOC infrastructures must provide real-time data and updates while encouraging collaboration among command centers, hospitals, and law enforcement agencies.