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Emergency Operations Center Assessment Checklist

This page is about Emergency Operations Center Assessment Checklist.

The following checklist will assist state and local governments in performing the initial assessment of the hazards, vulnerabilities and resultant risk to their existing Emergency Operations Center (EOC), as described in the grant guidance for EOC Phase 1 of the FY 2002 supplemental funds. The questions have an operations focus and are intended to address whether a requirement for a particular capability exists, whether the EOC can provide that capability and whether the provided capability is adequate. The checklist first asks questions about the physical features of a facility housing an EOC/EOC Alternate and then addresses the characteristics of Survivability, Security, Sustainability, Interoperability and Flexibility described in the grant guidance. The checklist may be used for state or local EOCs and, where applicable, state or local alternate EOCs. For this reason, some questions may warrant different responses depending on the type (state or local) or nature (primary or alternate) of the EOC.

When assessing the physical space of an EOC/Alternate EOC, include the area in square feet, the number of staff working a shift and the ability to accommodate surge requirements.  When assessing communications capabilities, provide sufficient detail to assess the adequacy of that capability. For example, for telephones consider the number of instruments available, the number of lines (telephone jacks) in a room and the capabilities of the telephone switch (e.g., can the switch support additional telephone drops, if required for surge operations). For computers, consider the availability of network connectivity and the capability of the network to handle increased traffic as a result of the increased activity associated with emergency operations. For radio devices, provide sufficient information to describe the type of device (portable transceiver, radio console), quantity of devices on-hand, quantity needed to support operations (normal and surge), and whether that quantity is adequate. Consider the availability of batteries, chargers and spares for portable devices.

The checklist is a guide and is not intended to be all-inclusive. In conducting the initial assessment, address other concerns or issues that may not be included in the checklist. Space is provided at the end of the checklist for this purpose.

 Topics covered:

Facility Features

Facilities examines the physical features of EOC facilities: siting, structure, available space. EOC spaces to consider are an operations area, conference rooms, communications center, secure communications room and multi-use space. Multi-use space is space that is not dedicated to EOC operations but can quickly be made available to support EOC requirements for additional space during major disaster or surge situations.

Primary EOC

  • Is there an EOC?
  • Is the EOC located in an urban, suburban or rural area?
  • Is the EOC in the proximity of a government center (i.e., city hall, county courthouse, state capitol, etc.)?
  • Do government executives/key officials have rapid access to the EOC?
  • Are additional government personnel readily available to augment the EOC should the emergency escalate beyond the capability of the on-duty EOC team?
  • Is the EOC in a centrally located site allowing rapid response to all parts of the jurisdiction?
  • Is the EOC in an area that avoids congestion (i.e., transportation chokepoints such as inadequate thoroughfares, bridges, etc.) or debris from collapsing buildings?
  • Is the EOC located in a facility that has structural integrity?
  • Is the EOC located in an area where it can quickly be secured?
  • Is the EOC located in a known high-risk area (e.g., floods, earthquakes, nuclear power plant, Hazardous Material (HAZMAT) sites, etc?)  If yes, explain. Are there any plans to mitigate risk?
  • Is the EOC located near an adequate road network for ease of access?
  • Is the EOC located in a building (basement, ground floor, upper floor) or below grade in a "shelter"?
  • Is the building/shelter housing the EOC close to or set back from a tree line?
  • Does the building/shelter have adequate parking? Is the parking available in a parking lot or garage (above or below ground)?
  • Does the building/shelter have space to accommodate a helicopter landing pad? Is the surrounding area sufficiently clear of obstructions to allow a helicopter to approach and land?
  • Is the EOC in a government owned or leased facility?
  • Does the EOC occupy its own building/shelter or does it share a building/shelter with another organization (e.g., state or local police headquarters, emergency medical services facility, National Guard armory, commercial building)?
  • Is the EOC space dedicated (set aside and configured for EOC use only) or multiuse (not dedicated)? (Multi-use space is usually an office, administrative or conference area that is used for day-to-day functions and can be made available to support emergency response and management operations. Typically, the day-to-day staff are displaced to another location.)
  • Is the EOC one large room or is it a complex (i.e., several rooms that collectively comprise the EOC)?
  • Does the EOC have space, whether in one large room or complex of rooms, for an operations area (to perform emergency response and management functions), conference/media room (for meetings and press briefings), communications room (for centralized facsimiles, radios and video teleconferencing [VTC]) and secure communications (secure voice, facsimile and VTC)?
  • Does the EOC have a dedicated Operations Room? Is the space adequate to support the emergency response and EOC staff?
  • Does the EOC have a dedicated conference/media room(s)? Is the conference room size adequate to support meetings and media briefings? Can the conference room be physically separated/isolated from the operations area so that media briefings do not interfere with on-going operations?
  • Does the EOC have a dedicated communications room/center? Is the size of the communications room/center adequate to support EOC communications requirements?
  • Does the EOC have a secure communications room? Is the space adequate to support cleared EOC staff and secure communications requirements?
  • Does the EOC have designated multi-use space? Is the size of this space adequate to support expanded operations? Is the space readily available?
  • Can the EOC support augmenting staff from other federal or state agencies in a major disaster or surge situation?
  • If not, can it be reconfigured or are there plans to provide the necessary space?

Alternate EOC

  • Is there an Alternate EOC?
  • Is the Alternate EOC located in an urban, suburban or rural area?
  • Is the Alternate EOC in the proximity of a government center (i.e., city hall, county courthouse, state capitol, etc.)?
  • Do government executives/key officials have rapid access to the Alternate EOC?
  • Are additional government personnel readily available to augment the Alternate EOC should the emergency escalate beyond the capability of the on-duty EOC team?
  • Is the Alternate EOC in a centrally located site allowing rapid response to all parts of the jurisdiction?
  • Is the Alternate EOC in an area that avoids congestion (i.e., transportation chokepoints such as inadequate thoroughfares, bridges, etc.) or debris from collapsing buildings?
  • Is the Alternate EOC located in a facility that has structural integrity?
  • Is the Alternate EOC located in an area where it can quickly be secured?
  • Is the Alternate EOC located in a known high-risk area (e.g., floods, earthquakes, nuclear power plant, Hazardous Material (HAZMAT) sites, etc)?  If yes, explain. Are there any plans to mitigate risk?
  • Is the Alternate EOC located near an adequate road network for ease of access?
  • Is the Alternate EOC located in a building (basement, ground floor, upper floor) or below grade in a "shelter"?
  • Is the building/shelter housing the Alternate EOC close to or set back from a tree line?
  • Does the building/shelter have adequate parking? Is the parking available in a parking lot or garage (above or below ground)?
  • Does the building/shelter have space to accommodate a helicopter landing pad?  Is the surrounding area sufficiently clear of obstructions to allow a helicopter to approach and land?
  • Is the Alternate EOC in a government owned or leased facility?
  • Does the Alternate EOC occupy its own building/shelter or does it share a building/shelter with another organization (e.g., state or local police headquarters, emergency medical services facility, National Guard armory, commercial building)?
  • Is the Alternate EOC space dedicated (set aside and configured for Alternate EOC use only) or multiuse (not dedicated)? (Multi-use space is usually an office, administrative or conference area that is used for day-to-day functions and can be made available to support emergency response and management operations. Typically, the day-to-day staff are displaced to another location.)
  • Is the Alternate EOC one large room or is it a complex (i.e., several rooms that collectively comprise the Alternate EOC)?
  • Does the Alternate EOC have space, whether in one large room or complex of rooms, for an operations area (to perform emergency response and management functions), conference/media room (for meetings and press briefings), communications room (for centralized facsimiles, radios, and video teleconferencing [VTC]) and secure communications (secure voice, facsimile and VTC)?
  • Does the Alternate EOC have a dedicated Operations Room? Is the space adequate to support the emergency response and EOC staff?
  • Does the Alternate EOC have a dedicated conference/media room(s)? Is the conference room size adequate to support meetings and media briefings? Can the conference room be physically separated/isolated from the operations area so that media briefings do not interfere with on-going operations?
  • Does the Alternate EOC have a dedicated communications room/center? Is the size of the communications room/center adequate to support EOC communications requirements?
  • Does the Alternate EOC have a secure communications room? Is the space adequate to support cleared EOC staff and secure communications requirements?
  • Does the Alternate EOC have designated multi-use space? Is the size of this space adequate to support expanded operations? Is the space readily available?
  • Can the Alternate EOC support augmenting staff from other federal or state agencies in a major disaster or surge situation? If not, can it be reconfigured or are there plans to provide the necessary space?

 

Survivability 

Survivability - sustain the effects of a realized potential risk and continue operations from the EOC or a fully-capable alternate location (e.g., have an alternate EOC that can be activated and used if the primary is destroyed, damaged or not accessible).

Primary EOC

  • Is the EOC located in a known high-risk area (e.g., floods, earthquakes, nuclear power plant, Hazardous Material (HAZMAT) sites, etc)?
  • Can the EOC survive the effects of relevant risks (e.g., natural and manmade hazards)?
  • Does the EOC have special structural capabilities that improve its survivability?
  • Does the EOC have a collective protection system for chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) agents?
  • Does the EOC have protection from blast effects?
  • Is the EOC above the ground floor, on the ground floor or below grade?

Alternate EOC

  • Is there an Alternate EOC location identified to assure continuity of operations (COOP)?
  • Is the Alternate EOC located in a known high-risk area (e.g., floods, earthquakes, nuclear power plant, HAZMAT sites, etc.)?
  • Can the Alternate EOC survive the effects of relevant risks (e.g., natural and manmade hazards)?
  • Does the Alternate EOC have special structural capabilities that improve its survivability?
  • Does the Alternate EOC have a collective protection system for chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) agents?
  • Does the Alternate EOC have protection from blast effects? 
  • Is the Alternate EOC above the ground floor, on the ground floor or below grade?

 

Security

Security - guard against potential risks and protect operations from the unauthorized disclosure of sensitive information ( e.g., have sufficient security and structural integrity to protect the facility, its occupants and communications equipment and systems from relevant threats and hazards).

Facility

  • Is the EOC/Alternate EOC located in an urban, suburban or rural location?
  • Are physical security measures (barriers, security cameras, etc.) presently used in the EOC/Alternate EOC and are these existing security features adequate?
  • What security features, such as access controls, barriers, secure areas and surveillance devices, are required?
  • How is access to the EOC/Alternate EOC controlled? Is a badge or card-swipe system in use?  Is it adequate to control access to the facility? Is it adequate to control access within the facility?
  • Does appropriate staff have 24-hours access to the facility?
  • Are there any access control systems (card access, elevators, lock-out stairwells) that, if non-operational, could preclude access to the facility? If yes, what alternate plans are in place to ensure access?
    • Can security capabilities be increased commensurate with higher threat levels (e.g., additional barriers, increased surveillance, additional guards)?
    • Can areas where classified and/or unclassified but sensitive information is discussed be isolated from unauthorized/uncleared individuals?
    • Does the EOC/Alternate EOC have an existing secure communications area/room? Does it meet FEMA-provided security requirements? Is the size (square footage) of the room adequate?
  • How is access to an existing secure communications area controlled? Are existing controls adequate?

Communications/Networks

  • Do Local Area Networks (LAN) used in support of emergency operations have adequate protection against cyber attack (e.g., unauthorized access, denial of service or malicious code)? If not, what capabilities are needed?
  • Do state Wide Area Networks (WAN) used in support of emergency operations have adequate protection against cyber attack (e.g., unauthorized access, denial of service, or malicious code)? If not, what capabilities are needed?
  • Do you have a secure voice capability? If so, is it adequate to support you emergency operations needs?
  • Do non-secure telephones have a privacy feature?
  • Do you have a secure facsimile capability? If so, is it adequate to support your emergency operations needs?
  • Are radio communications protected (i.e., encrypted or have privacy features)?

Personnel

  • Are personnel with security clearances required?
  • Are there at least five (5) personnel with security clearances? Are cleared personnel trained to:
    • Use secure communications equipment?
    • Control and protect classified material? 
    • Manage and control communications security (COMSEC)?
  • Are individuals with a security clearance identified (e.g., unique marking on ID badge, recognition)?

 

Sustainability

Sustainability - support operations for extended durations ( e.g., be able to sustain operations 24/7 during all emergency situations without interruption; to the extent practical, be located in a place that is not a high-risk area for known hazards, such as flood zone, other natural hazard, nuclear power plant, hazardous material sites, etc.).

Facility

  • Can the EOC/Alternate EOC support operations 24 hour a day/7 days a week for an extended period of time? Are operational and administrative supplies adequate to sustain operations (e.g., food, water, fuel for backup generators, paper products, office supplies, etc.)?
  • Does the EOC/Alternate EOC have backup power? (Backup power typically refers to generator power.)
  • Does the EOC/Alternate EOC have an uninterruptible power supply (UPS)? (UPS units typically use batteries to provide power for a limited duration; e.g., 10-20 minutes depending on the load.) If yes, what systems/functions does the UPS support?  Is the duration of the UPS adequate to support these systems/functions until the backup power to comes on line?
  • Are Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems centrally (building-wide) or locally managed?
  • Are HVAC systems available and controllable 24-hours a day, seven days a week (24x7)?
  • Does the EOC/Alternate EOC have access to support areas (e.g., file rooms, server sites and the like)?
  • Are there any special constraints that must be met to sustain operations? Special access needs?
  • Does the Alternate EOC have the same capabilities as the primary location? If not, what are the differences?

Communications/Networks

  • Is the number of telephones, secure or non-secure, adequate for the EOC/Alternate EOC to conduct emergency response and management operations?
  • Are telephones connected to an in-house Private Branch Exchange (PBX)?
  • Are telephones connected directly to a local commercial carrier (i.e., draw dial tone from the local switch rather then from the PBX)?  (These telephones are just like those found in a home or office. The advantage is that if the EOC/Alternate EOC loses power to the PBX, telephones connected directly to the dial central office will continue to function.)
  • Is the number of facsimiles, secure and non-secure, adequate to conduct emergency response operations?
  • Does the EOC/Alternate EOC have dedicated transmit and receive facsimiles?
  • Does the EOC/Alternate EOC have a secure facsimile capability?
  • Is the number of printers adequate for the EOC/Alternate EOC to conduct emergency response operations?

 

Interoperability

Interoperability - share common principles of operations and exchange routine and time-sensitive information with local jurisdictions, State-level EOCs, and FEMA's network of operations centers (e.g. be able to communicate with key State agencies, local government EOCs, emergency response teams at or near an incident site, near-by State EOCs, and Federal authorities to include the FEMA Regional Operations Center (ROC) as well as the FEMA Operations Center).

Communications

  • Does the EOC/Alternate have a requirement to monitor the communications of key emergency services (e.g., police, fire, emergency medical services (EMS), HAZMAT, and public works)? Is there a requirement to monitor the communications of other services? If yes, does the capability exist and is it adequate?
  • Does the EOC/Alternate have a requirement to establish an emergency communications network that includes the key emergency services and local EOCs/jurisdictions? If yes, does the capability exist and is it adequate?
  • If a requirement exists, can the EOC/Alternate EOC communicate with the following entities:
    • Local EOCs throughout the State?
    • FEMA ROC and/or FEMA Regional Staff?
    • Federal Disaster Field Office (DFO)?
    • EOC/Alternate EOC of other States?
    • Operations centers of State-level emergency services organizations?
    • Incident Commander or incident site command post?
    • Operations centers of regional and local airport, highway, port, and waterway authorities; hospitals and ambulance service providers; nuclear power plants; dams; private sector utilities (power, telephone, sewerage, and water) and chemical companies?
  • Are the EOC/Alternate EOC communications means adequate to satisfy communications requirements?  (Consider radios, telephones, cell phones, available frequency spectrum, and other issues.)

Procedures

  • Do the State and local government EOCs/Alternate EOCs have common operations, reporting, and communications procedures that will be used during the response to and management of an All Hazards event?
  • If the EOC/Alternate EOC has a requirement to exchange information with local EOCs/jurisdictions and key emergency services (e.g., police, fire, EMS, HAZMAT, and public works), are there procedures/checklists in place to facilitate the exchange?
  • If required, are scheduled reports assembled and disseminated?

Training

  • Do the State and local government EOCs/ Alternate EOCs conduct routine, recurring, or periodic joint communications training to exercise the communications capabilities that will be used during the response to and management of an All Hazards event?
  • If conducted, are the results of joint communications training maintained in a "lessons learned" document and used to improve communications operations? Are the results also used to identify communications deficiencies and develop solutions that correct the deficiencies and improve communications capabilities?
  • Do the State and local government EOCs/Alternate EOCs conduct routine, recurring, or periodic joint training exercises to practice, test, and refine their common operations, reporting, and communications procedures?
  • If conducted, are the results of joint training maintained in a "lessons learned" document and used to improve common procedures?
  • Are actual experiences used to validate existing or create new common procedures?

 

Flexibility

Flexibility - scale operations and adapt operational pace to the All Hazards event (e.g., have sufficient space, equipment, furniture, administrative supplies, and the like available to satisfy mission requirements).

Facility - Primary EOC

  • Is space dedicated for an EOC? If not, does the EOC occupy space within another organization's facility (e.g., State or local police headquarters, emergency medical services facility, National Guard armory, commercial building)?
  • Whether dedicated or shared, is the square footage available for the EOC adequate to conduct emergency response operations?
  • Is the EOC operational only when emergency response and management operations are being conducted? Or, is the EOC operational 24x7 (staff and capabilities are present and active) whether or not emergency response operations are being conducted?
  • Are there activation, layout, and setup procedures for the EOC?
  • Can EOC activation and operations be tailored to the scale of emergency response activities? (For example, a small-scale event might require the activation of fewer staff and capabilities, and the conduct of limited emergency response operations; a large-scale event, the activation of all staff and capabilities, and the conduct of extensive emergency response operations.)
  • Have the conditions that would cause the EOC to be relocated been identified? Are there procedures for relocating from the EOC?
  • Are EOC activation and relocation exercises held periodically? Is the level of participation by member agencies sufficient to ensure an efficient and timely activation during actual events? Do participants include key personnel assigned to the EOC?
  • Is there a dedicated conference/media room in the general vicinity of the EOC? Is the square footage adequate?
  • Is there multi-use space available in the general vicinity of the EOC? Is the square footage adequate? (Multi-use space is usually an office, administrative, or conference area that is used for day-to-day functions and can be made available to support emergency response and management operations. Typically, the day-to-day staff are displaced to another location.)

Facility - Alternate EOC

  • Is there an Alternate EOC identified and established to ensure COOP for emergency response operations?
  • Is space dedicated for an Alternate EOC?  If not, does the Alternate EOC occupy space within another organization's facility (e.g., State or local police headquarters, emergency medical services facility, National Guard armory, commercial building)?
  • Whether dedicated or shared, is the square footage available for the Alternate EOC adequate to conduct emergency response operations?
  • Are there activation, layout, and setup procedures for the Alternate EOC?
  • Can Alternate EOC activation and operations be tailored to the scale of emergency response activities?
  • Have conditions been identified that would cause the Alternate EOC to be activated rather than the primary EOC?
  • Does the Alternate EOC have the same capabilities as the primary EOC? If not, what are the differences?
  • Are Alternate EOC activation exercises held periodically? Is the level of participation by member agencies sufficient to ensure an efficient and timely activation during actual events? Do participants include key personnel assigned to the Alternate EOC?
  • Is there a dedicated conference/media room in the general vicinity of the Alternate EOC? Is the square footage adequate?
  • Is there multi-use space available in the general vicinity of the Alternate EOC?  Is the square footage adequate?

Communications/Networks

  • Is the number of computers available in the EOC/Alternate EOC and any multi-use space adequate to support emergency response operations?
  • Is the number of servers adequate to support emergency response operations?
  • Is the number of telephones, both secure and non-secure, available in the EOC/Alternate EOC and any multi-use space adequate to support emergency response operations?
  • Do the EOC/Alternate EOC and any multi-use space have telephones that are connected to a local dial central office? (These telephones are just like those found in a home or office. The advantage is that if the EOC/Alternate EOC loses power to the PBX, telephones connected directly to the dial central office will continue to function.)
  • Do any telephones have a:
    • Recording capability?
    • Caller ID capability?
    • Voice conferencing capability?
  • Is the number of printers available in the EOC/Alternate EOC and any multi-use space adequate to support emergency response operations?
  • Is the number of facsimiles available in the EOC/Alternate EOC and any multi-use space adequate to support emergency response operations?
  • Do the EOC/Alternate EOC and any multi-use space have the capability to display video?  If yes, do they also have the capability to distribute audio associated with the video display?
  • Do the EOC/Alternate EOC and any multi-use space have a video teleconferencing (VTC) capability?
  • Do the EOC/Alternate EOC and any multi-use space have the capability to receive public (intercom) announcements?
  • Can the telecommunications capability be configured to support the scale of emergency response and management activities?

 

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Last Updated: 
04/23/2015 - 10:35