The Virtual EOC

As the Mayor of New Orleans found when not only his police and fire department headquarters were rendered inoperable but that their EOC was also destroyed in Katrina, if you have internet access you can begin managing an emergency from a hotel room.

With IP Radio we can access telephones (via commercial and/or proprietary VoIP telephone service) and radio transmitters (via IP Radio). While New Orleans attempted to run their EOC in a Hyatt hotel room for the first few days, they had only four phonesets and no access to radios. But with pre-planning and the deployment of an IP Radio architecture overlaid on an existing radio system, the same technology and approach could have provided radio monitor and transmit, in addition to telephone access.

In fact, with IP Radio the radio transmitters could have been patched to the telephone access, permitting radio dispatchers located anywhere in the U.S. (dry, fed, and well-rested) to handle the radio traffic.

And thus, the revolutionary concept of the Virtual EOC. No longer do cities and governments need to rely upon a physical, dedicated location for their EOC (although we do not advocate abandoning the dedicated EOC concept).

The Virtual EOC is a package of equipment, in rugged cases, cached in several locations throughout a geography and ready to “fly away” to any location in the region (or beyond) to provide all of the infrastructure required in a traditional, dedicated EOC.

IP Radio is installed, in advance, at selected high points (or if budget permits, all of the high points) as well as establishing a cache of temporary radio transmitters, each equipped with IP Radio hardware and software as well as multiple, redundant means of accessing the public Internet.

Such preparation is not meant to replace the existing communications infrastructure, or physical EOC, but to provide a backup should some or all of that infrastructure be rendered inoperable (even for the first day). Should the permanent infrastructure survive (as it did not in Katrina or the WTC on 9/11) then the Virtual EOC provides additional capacity for a system that will be heavily loaded.

Contact us for more information about how we can help your EOC “go virtual” and thus be more survivable, flexible, and scalable for a large-scale emergency.

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