Emergency Operations Center

What is an EOC?

An Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is a specially-designated centralized facility where officials meet face to face to coordinate a jurisdiction’s overall disaster response and recovery efforts in support of field operations. Every US State, most cities, counties, tribes, major employers, military installations and health care facilities have an EOC. While the size, complexity and types of EOCs vary by organization, they all perform the same basic functions. Our EOC is designed to facilitate the efficient response to a wide-variety of human-caused, natural and technological hazards and disasters that can potentially impact the UW’s mission. The mission of the UW’s EOC is to minimize the impact of emergencies and disasters to the campus community through coordinated planning, information-sharing and resource management between University departments/ units, partnering agencies and the public.

Where is the UW’s EOC?

The UW actually has 3 separate EOCs! Our primary EOC is located in Suite C-140 of the UW Tower Complex. In addition, the university maintains a primary alternate EOC at Poplar Hall as well as mobile off-site command vehicle, maintained by the UW Police Department. The primary EOC is comprised of seven separate rooms: The main operations room, UWEM Staff workstations, Media and Communications Room, UWEM Director’s Office, Secure Conference Room, Storage and the Emergency Policy Room. Together, totaling more than 5,500-square feet, the EOC provides space for the university decision-makers to provide guidance and support the rest of the campus to ensure rapid and efficient disaster response and recovery efforts.

Why is the EOC Located at the UW Tower?

We moved out of the old 100+ year-old Bryant Building in February 2011 to the UW Tower to ensure that the university would be able to effectively and rapidly respond to any type of crisis, emergency, disaster or catastrophe after a major disaster. The new EOC is located in a building that has received a significant amount of seismic (earthquake) retrofitting, as well back-up power, communications and HVAC in case of power outages. As part of a regional partnership agreement, the UW’s EOC acts as a back-up to the City of Seattle’s downtown EOC in the event that their facility is unavailable or damaged.

How Was the EOC funded?

The UW capital projects budget funded the actual structure and floor space. However, nearly 100% of the equipment, supplies, communications and audio-visual equipment was funded via a variety of federal (FEMA and US Homeland Security Department ) sources.

Who Works in the EOC?

While the EOC is staffed Monday-Friday by the 3.5 FTE UW Emergency Management Department employees (who are co-located in the facility), the EOC can comfortably seat up to 90 university officials and external partners (City, County, State, FEMA, National Guard, Red Cross, etc…). The EOC is organized using the nationally-mandated Incident Command System, or ICS. Under this system, which we train on every year with every EOC responder, the UW ensures that we follow the same decision-making structure that is used by every other government unit in the US. Our University’ s disaster plan (link here) describes how this system works.

What Happens to the EOC when there is NOT a Disaster?

The new EOC is used 5-days a week for disaster drills, emergency training, meetings, orientations, seminars and other public information and education events. In order for the EOC to be tested on a regular basis, UWEM staff encourages its use and operations on a regular basis to ensure that all systems are fully-operational for the “real thing” when disaster strikes. Please contact UWEM at 206.897.8000 if you would like to schedule a tour, training or orientation for your group or department.

How to Call the EOC

We have over 55 phones, 6 fax machines, 20 UHF/VHF & 800Mhz radios and even a satellite phone! However, the best way to contact the EOC (when it is activate) is to call the main EOC Switchboard number at 206.897.8800.

Click here for more information, including a detailed article in UW Today from June 29, 2011, click here.