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Emergency Operations Center
Activation Levels

The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) serves a critical role in every phase of disaster response, from being the coordination hub during an incident to planning for and facilitating the stabilization of Community Lifelines, those fundamental public services in the community that enable all other aspects of a society.  While on-scene operations are managed from an Incident Command Post (ICP), the EOC coordinates information, resource allocation, and support for responders in the field.

There are three recognized levels of activation for the Nassau County EOC:  

  • Activation Level 3 is the “Blue Skies” day-to-day status in the EOC.  Emergency management professionals and volunteers are monitoring local, state, national, and international news and conditions; collecting and analyzing data for threat and risk assessments; planning and conducting responder training and exercises; reviewing and updating programmatic documents; and holding public education and outreach events.  

  • Activation Level 2 is a heightened level of operations, usually in response to a looming threat or developing situation of concern.  Authority to elevate EOC staffing and operations to Level 2 lies with the Emergency Management Director (EMD) or Deputy EMD.  Additional personnel or extended work hours are typically needed.  High-profile events (planned or unplanned) which do not require the full complement of emergency support functions and some recovery operations might also be handled at this level.  The EOC does not serve as a dispatch center, but a clearinghouse of information to be shared with other governmental entities that can independently act within their own authority and protocols.

  • Activation Level 1 is considered the highest level of response operations for the EOC.  Level 1 activations include a Local State of Emergency (LSE) declaration instructing the EOC Incident Management Team (IMT) to use all resources necessary to implement protective measures and response operations on behalf of the County.  The LSE temporarily lifts certain financial restrictions to facilitate emergency procurement of resources and may include evacuation and/or curfew orders.  The EOC IMT may be operating 12-24 hours each day to analyze, plan for "next steps," and support emergency response operations to protect life safety, assess impacts, and stabilize Community Lifelines.  EOC operational periods follow the "Planning P" cycle.

Emergency management professionals typically break down their responsibilities into four phases, which form a cycle of activities that take place before, during, and after a disaster. 

This cycle applies to residents and businesses, too.

  • Before a disaster strikes, PREPAREDNESS activities (planning, equipping, training, and exercising) get the community and responders ready for all types of hazards.

  • During and immediately following a disaster, RESPONSE actions help protect lives and property and stabilize community lifelines.

  • RECOVERY efforts focus on rebuilding after a disaster; that can take days to years, depending on the extent of the damage to the community.  Really big disasters can create unemployment and heighten demand on social services, all while reducing tax revenue for local government.  Successful recoveries depend upon well-prepared residents, resilient businesses, and properly insured properties.

  • MITIGATION projects reduce risks and losses from future hazards – they may take place after a disaster during long-term recovery or while preparing for a hazard, but they are always intended to improve conditions and strengthen resilience before the next event.

Mitigate Prepare Recover Respond
Decorative image of Gumby
Community Lifelines are the integrated network of assets, services, and capabilities that are used day-to-day to support the ongoing needs of society.  

Multiple components and subcomponents make up each lifeline.  During a disaster response, each of them must be assessed to determine their status, so the EOC IMT can support the rapid restoration of those disrupted.  Permanent repairs take place during disaster recovery.

Image listing the eight Community Lifelines (Safety and Security; Food and Shelter; Health and Medical; Energy; Communications; Transportation; Hazardous Material; and Water Systems) and Sub-lifeline components.
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