Fellow Fire Service Professionals;
I am researching if and how other departments utilize "operations bases" for major events (weather, disaster, WMD, etc.) in conjunction with their EOC's.
I am a member of Norfolk Fire-Rescue in Norfolk, Virginia. We are a 490+ member, metro/urban fire department providing fire and ems coverage to a population of 240,000 residents over a 54 square mile area. Norfolk is a major maritime shipping center, a regional business center and we have several large public and private shipbuilding and repair facilities. We also provide mutual aid service to the Norfolk Naval Base and a portion of the Little Creek Amphibious Base. Our transient commuter population increases by 150,000 to 250,000 depending on the fleet status.
Our department staffs 14 als engines, 10 als ambulances, 7 ladder companies and 2 haz-mat/technical rescue squads out of 15 station divided into 3 battalions.
To my question;
As a function of our city ICS the fire chief or his designate, accompanied by a small admin staff, respond to the EOC to meet and work with the city manager and other department and agency heads. Policy and direction is promulgated from this central location.
As a function of our department's all hazard ICS we establish an "operations base" (for lack of a better term) where our on-duty assistant chief (shift commander) monitors and directs the field forces in carrying out that policy. We have used this method on several weather and special event related occasions when planning time was available.
We are investigating whether other departments are using a similar system for planned (weather, special event, etc.) or unplanned (disaster, WMD, etc.) emergency events.
If you have any experience, thoughts or written operating procedures for this type of situation I would appreciate your input. I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your assistance with this matter.
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03-09-2003, 12:35 PM #1
- Join Date
- Mar 2003
- Norfolk Fire-Rescue, Norfolk, VA
Operations Bases for Major Events
03-11-2003, 11:35 PM #2
We have established a MEOC (Municipal Emergency Operations Center) on several occasions- a couple of hurricane evacuations, one post-hurricane operation, Y2K, and a hazmat incident. We keep a MEOC equipped during hurricane season and can be staffed by paging key personnel and having them respond to where it is located (at our department headquarters). From there, they can take over prioritizing alarms, allocating units, etc. and can participate in a multi-agency unified command.
Normally, this would be staffed with representatives from Fire/Rescue (at least one Command officer and a Battalion Chief), Logistics, the Town Manager's Office, and our Emergency Management Director.
In the times when I have staffed it personally, it has been very useful. There were some glitches, but nothing we couldn't work out for subsequent events. Obviously, there are incident commanders at individual alarms and at no time do we have MEOC personnel dictating the strategies and tactics of the incidents- they are there for jurisdiction-wide coordination and resource allocation at a higher level than regular dispatching.Michael "Mick" Mayers
Acting Director, Urban Search and Rescue
South Carolina Emergency Response Task Force
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