EOC Facility CHECKLIST : Avoiding Surprises

There is a need for balance in EOC Design. An EOC must satisfy the life needs of its personnel while coordinating resources and gathering information during crisis activation.

This author toured city, county and regional EOC’s throughout the state of Florida to give Disaster Resource Guide readers a better understanding of what is needed for a successful EOC. Failure to recover from a major disruption could occur when the following are not considered in EOC planning.


  • Adequate air conditioning to properly regulate temperature with full personnel occupancy and high heat generated by technology
  • All mechanical systems such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) must be capable of operating on emergency power


  • Redundancy for all electronic systems for communications and technology
  • The ability to replace malfunctioning equipment while still having active equipment in use
  • A reliable power source, independent of the commercial power source, tested for operability on alternate power sources
  • Public address system allowing information to be broadcast from the operations room, command conference room, and communications room to the meeting rooms
  • A backup radio for the EOC
  • Outside antennas designed to withstand excessive forces from wind or impact of debris
  • Redundant antennas that can be erected after a blast or other event that disables the permanent antenna
  • Low technology alternatives in case of total failure of the electronic visual display systems, such as: erasable marker boards, large format hard copy maps and displays, overhead projector systems, tackable wall surfaces & wall charts
  • Voice, data and communications systems with uninterruptible power supplies (UPS)


Broadcast Room

  • Assigned positions to media outlets establishes order set by EOC command
  • News people isolated from the main EOC operations areas to control the timing and content of information delivered to the public during a crisis


  • Meetings held privately to avoid interfering with other EOC business
  • Meeting rooms separated from communications & operations areas

Food & Beverage

  • Dining facility able to hold 25% of staff per shift with access from operations & sleeping quarters
  • “Satellite” food & beverage serving areas for communications and operations to efficiently serve staff and alleviate the volume of the main dining facility

Sleeping & Showers

  • Available for 25% of staff per shift
  • Bunk beds and convertible seating as options
  • Direct access to private toilet/ showers/lockers

Storage Areas

  • Oversized doors and deep shelving to access spare equipment and furniture
  • Centrally located between command center, communications room, meeting rooms and operations room
  • Office supply storage areas in command center, communications, operations


  • Second backup generator for emergency generator
  • Emergency generators and fuel supplies placed within the same protective and secure enclosure as the EOC
  • Physical separation between emergency generator room and EOC to prevent generator exhaust fumes, fuel odor, and noise from affecting EOC
  • Sufficient work area around the equipment for normal operation, maintenance and overhaul


  • EOC entrance and doors accessing communications rooms, operations rooms and briefing rooms with secure locks and an access control system
  • Access control system using card readers, key pads or similar technology capable of recording access events


  • Controls access in and out of the EOC
  • Provides for delay of forced entries
  • Allows for verification of identity before admittance
  • Allows for summoning of visitor escorts
  • Admission to the entrapment area by communication with a receptionist or via automated access control
  • Communication with the reception area either through a secure window or through an intercom and camera system
  • Second secure door provided for access from the entrapment area into the EOC once the individuals requesting entrance have been cleared to enter


  • Employee training for First Aid and CPR
  • Critical medications and toiletries stocked
  • Additional first aid supplies in communications and operations


  • Acoustical insulation for interior and exterior walls
  • Acoustical treatment to isolate emergency generator noise from EOC operations
  • Interior windows with treatments to allow privacy when needed
  • Headsets and non-ringing phones (ring lights)
  • Window & document pass-through (combination) between command center and operations room; between command center and communications


  • High ceilings (15 feet +)
  • Minimum of three large format video displays visible to all
  • Work Stations containing voice & data connections, public address capabilities


  • Additional Elevators and Stairwells
  • Clear Signage
  • Wide Hallways


  • Redundancy in communications, cooling, power, technology, water utilities
  • Redundancy for vital systems connectivity, such as network data and voice cabling


  • Electronic Security System (ESS) which may include but is not limited to intrusion detection, access control system, and video assessment of alarms
  • Protection systems to detect abnormal situations, provide warning, protect property
  • Fire protection systems, lightning protection systems, water level monitoring systems, overflow detection devices, automatic shutoffs


  • Scenario: 120 personnel in EOC; emergency generator output: 850 KW; generator consumption: 1,000 gallons of diesel per day
  • 10 days of fuel: 4,000 gallons of diesel in underground tank;
  • 6,000 gallon tanker truck brought in and secured in enclosure
  • 10 days of food: 5 days of MRE’s; 5 days of provisions from outside vendor
  • MRE’s consisting of three, 1,200 calorie meals per person per day, requiring no refrigeration
  • Outside food vendors: contracts often require 48 hour notice
  • 10 days of bottled water
  • 3,000 gallons of water stored in tank for sanitation


  • All equipment operates satisfactorily on the emergency power supply
  • All equipment compatible with emergency power supply, including cycles, wattage, amperage, in alternating or direct current configuration
  • Alarm systems and radio communications tested monthly


  • Water reclamation from the building systems by flushing pipes or draining storage tanks to assure availability for use in essential life support functions
  • Waste water systems that rely on gravity flow

An EOC is a dynamic structure containing people, property, systems, and technology. All of these elements must have equal consideration in the EOC planning process.

About the Author
Gary Edelson is CEO of Edelson Communications, offering contingency planning and training programs for corporations, government agencies, professional associations that maximize outstanding customer service and ensure smooth recovery from disruptions. He can be reached at glance.edelson@gmail.com.