Gloucester has new Emergency Operations Center

by Quinton Sheppard - Posted on Jul 09, 2014 - 12:17 PM

Photo: Larry Hill, public information officer for the Virginia Department of Health, gave a presentation during a public information officer training session in the multipurpose room of the county’s new Emergency Operations Center. He is shown with, from left, Nadine Tatum representing First Presbyterian Church in Gloucester, Gloucester Commonwealth’s Attorney Holly Smith, and Shannon Fedors, representing Riverside Walter Reed Hospital. Photo by Quinton Sheppard

Larry Hill, public information officer for the Virginia Department of Health, gave a presentation during a public information officer training session in the multipurpose room of the county’s new Emergency Operations Center. He is shown with, from left, Nadine Tatum representing First Presbyterian Church in Gloucester, Gloucester Commonwealth’s Attorney Holly Smith, and Shannon Fedors, representing Riverside Walter Reed Hospital. Photo by Quinton Sheppard

Photo: The exterior of the county’s Emergency Communications Center (upstairs), where dispatch services are conducted and the new Emergency Operations Center is located in the basement of the building. Photo by Quinton Sheppard

The exterior of the county’s Emergency Communications Center (upstairs), where dispatch services are conducted and the new Emergency Operations Center is located in the basement of the building. Photo by Quinton Sheppard

Gloucester County now has an adequate space to coordinate emergency functions the next time disaster strikes.

The county recently opened its new Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in the 4,000-plus-square-foot basement of the Emergency Communications Center (ECC), located adjacent to the Gloucester Sheriff’s Office.

The Gloucester County Board of Supervisors authorized just over $600,000 in 2013 to build out the space in the basement, which includes a bunk area, small kitchen, emergency services offices and a large multipurpose meeting room that houses the coordination efforts in an emergency situation.

Also included in the new EOC is its own call center. When it is functional, residents can call a special telephone number that will be activated in times of emergency for up-to-the-minute information on damage, shelters and other safety concerns. “This will take a load off of the (sheriff’s office) dispatchers during an event,” said Gloucester’s emergency services coordinator Creig Moore.

During emergencies, Moore said the EOC’s multipurpose room is transformed into a meeting/coordination room for a variety of county departments to work together, including representatives from planning, county administration, animal control and emergency management.

“If we are fully staffed, 24 people will work inside this room for 12-hour shifts each, as opposed to six or seven people,” he said.