Since it's opening in 1999, not much has changed in Pinal County's Emergency Operations Center (EOC). The white boards still on the walls, the large tables and chairs that have served its purpose for 18 years are making way for a 21st century makeover.
The EOC, which also serves as the Planning and Zoning Commission hearing room, will be dark for the next week receiving some new and upgraded technology.
According to Chuck Kmet, Pinal County's Emergency Manager, the building and infrastructure has been present since 1999. "This upgrade will give us the ability to respond better, more effectively and efficiently in emergencies."
One feature Kmet is proud of is the new four paneled video screen that can act as one large monitor or split into four separate monitors.
"This is really is a great asset," Kmet says proudly. "We are able to watch reports as they come in, we can video conference or we can access an online program called 'WebEOC' to better manage emergency situations. We can now 'draw' on a projected map using the touch screen technology of the Smart Board. These tools help to provide better situational awareness that can be translated into information to be conveyed to County leadership as well as the public."
Is the new technology hard to program or use?
"That is not the case for this equipment," Kmet said. "Actually, we can operate anything in our EOC with a touch screen device that is programmed to be easy to comprehend and use."
Kmet also stressed that the new equipment for the EOC meets ADA requirements. The upgrades came out to just over $115,000 with half of the money coming from grant funding.
"We have some new capabilities and we have upgraded some old capabilities," Kmet said. "I think the emergency responders will like this and the people here for hearings and other meetings will enjoy it as well."
Pinal County has an alternate facility that may serve as an EOC in the event that an incident occurs during the renovation period that requires the activation of the EOC.BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS