Posts Tagged ‘Emergency operations center

20
Jul
11

Use your people

Virginia Emergency Operations Center

Image by VaDOT via Flickr

I have noticed that EOC’s and emergency managers are always asking for money and anyone who reads the comments sections of online news articles can see that the public always thinks it’s unnecessary.  I completely understand.  You buy these beautiful, technoligically advanced, and outrageously expensive rooms to be used a few times a year (if your lucky, or unlucky depending on your point of view).  I think it’s time we evaluate the use of emergency managers and emergency management agencies.  Preparation is key but we have shrinking budgets and agencies are losing their best people to retirement out of fear of not having the option.  I think that EOC’s and emergency manager should get more active.  Respond to calls that aren’t normally part of your scope but require multi-agency response.  Firefighters, police, and EMS become better at what they do because they are active.  An agency that activates a couple times a year is not going to have their stuff together when the big one hits.  I am always amazed at the requirements to activate an EOC when looking at emergency operations plans.  Some places require the town to essentially be wiped off the face of the earth before it’s a situation that warrants an EOC/EM activation.  As a volunteer who is always looking for a chance to participate in an activation, I find that there are many situations that would have been helped by an EOC activation but the EOC sits dormant.  All the fancy equipment laid out with nothing to do.  Just my opinion though, perhaps I am just bored and looking for some excitement (I don’t wish anything bad on anyone, I really don’t).

08
Dec
10

Think Green

FBI Mobile Command Center in Washington DC.

Image via Wikipedia

I like many emergency managers and public safety people, enjoy playing with all the toys and cool equipment we get access to.  This include EOC‘s, mobile command posts, radio systems, etc… but do you ever stop to think of the environmental impact these things have?  They all require electricity and when we are running on backup power they require fuel.  This is bad.  This is particularly bad because in my years I have found many agencies really could care less about wasting fuel or electricity.

It’s generally chalked up to being a part of the process and that the fuel will always be there and who cares, we aren’t paying for it.  Maybe not in that many words but there is the belief that we can use these resources freely because we need to have them available, even if we aren’t using them.  Think about how much we run apparatus and vehicles in idle when nobody is in them and we aren’t using them.  I can understand the arguments behind leaving them running.  Many of our officers and chiefs have been around since the days where a apparatus may not have been the most reliable or batteries and during the winter fire trucks need to circulate water to prevent the pump from freezing.  At least I hope that is why we are so wasteful.  The alternative reason, is that we don’t take responsibility for our poor management of these resources.

I would say it’s time we develop mobile renewable power sources as an alternative to fuel generators and create programs to ensure we don’t waste the tax payers money or waste energy uneccessarily.  Perhaps we need to develop training and policies to ensure that we are using energy efficient technologies, renewable sources of energy, and practicing common sense like flipping the lights off when a room is not in use.  In a time when there is a looming climate crisis and local governments are squeezing the life out of every penny we need to be resourceful and creative in saving money and the environment.




My Twitter