The Emergency Operations Center is the central “command and control” facility responsible for carrying out the principles of emergency preparedness and emergency management, or disaster management functions at a strategic level during an emergency, and ensuring the continuity of government operations.
The EOC is responsible for the strategic overview, or "big picture", of the disaster, and does not directly control field assets, leaving operational and tactical decisions to “on scene” Incident Commanders. The common functions of the EOC's is to collect, gather and analyze data; make decisions that protect life and property, maintain continuity of operations within the scope of applicable laws; and disseminate those decisions to all concerned departments and individuals.
Communications during an emergency will be coordinated with the Laurel Volunteer Fire Department, the Laurel Volunteer Rescue Squad, the Prince George's County Office of Homeland Security, Maryland Emergency Management Agency, and Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Activation of the EOC
Response to an event is the function of Fire-Rescue Departments, Emergency Medical Services, Law Enforcement, Public Works and First Responders. When a large-scale event has occurred, it is important that the response be coordinated. This generally means activating the Emergency Operations Center to assure central coordination. Official public advisories, shelter/ evacuation, search and rescue, and resource mobilization are all part of the response mode.
Automatic EOC Activation normally occurs when:
- The Mayor, the County Executive or the Governor proclaims a state of emergency affecting the City of Laurel due to weather, hazardous materials, terrorism, etc.
- The safety and/or security of residents, businesses, employees, etc. are in peril.
- Significant City/critical infrastructures are in peril.
- When the City activates their EOC and requests significant mutual aid resource support (such as establishing Care and Shelter Facilities)
Levels of Operation
- Level 1 - Normal – Regional activities are monitored by the Operations Officer.
- Level 2 - Watch - When an event/disaster is predicted to occur - notification is made to Agencies and support staff who would need to take action as part of their responsibilities.
- Level 3 - Partial Activation - Limited activation of EOC when an event/disaster is very probable or following an event which doesn't require full activation. All primary or lead staff will be notified and will staff the EOC.
- Level 4 - Full Scale Activation - All primary and support agencies are notified. All EOC Support personnel will staff the EOC.
- Level 5 - Federal Response - All EOC Support Personnel will staff the EOC 24 hours - a Federal Emergency Response Team will be activated to support the event activities.
The City partnered with Prince George’s County to develop an All-Hazard Plan with 4 basic principles:
- Organize resources (members of community, technical resources, etc.)
- Develop Risk Assessments (potential hazards)
- Develop strategies goals, objectives and actions to reduce hazards
- Implement plan and monitor progress
The Emergency Services Director is responsible for coordinating all components of the Emergency Management System for the City. The components consist of activities related to mitigation, preparedness, response, assessment and recovery.
All Emergency Operations Center staff are responsible for supporting and coordinating all aspects of emergency response for emergencies. Additionally, they are responsible for the management of the Emergency Operations Center and provide the on-scene Emergency Management Team with information relevant to the emergency, as well as coordinate regional mutual aid.
Preparing for Emergencies
Disasters can and do strike without warning. It can force you to evacuate your home/neighborhood/business or confine you to your home or place of business (Shelter in Place) for an extended period of time. What would you do if basic services--water, gas, electricity or telephones--were cut off? Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster, but they cannot reach everyone right away. Make plans before a disaster occurs--Be Prepared. Click here - "Disasters - Are You Prepared?" - for important tips and information on preparing a Family and/or Business Disaster Plan.
Emergency Alert System (EAS)
Consider purchasing a personal battery-operated, tone-activated emergency alert radio. The stations - click here for a list of stations - are part of the Regional Emergency Alert System. Radio and television provide the fastest means to access information during an emergency.