Emergency Operations Center

Lancaster County Emergency Operations Center

The Emergency Operations Center or “EOC” is the centralized location of emergency response and recovery support operations during incidents. The EOC is the hub for resource and information coordination during scenarios that escalate beyond the capabilities of local emergency management. The EOC does not manage an incident — it provides coordination and support to local or regional efforts.

Various situations will trigger the EOC’s activation, including special events and emergencies that require resources beyond what local municipalities can handle; lengthy crisis situations; when major policy decisions will or might be needed; when a local or state emergency is declared; and when the EOC’s activation will be advantageous to successful management of a special event or emergency incident.

The EOC Team

The EOC Team is composed of both County as well as local partners who staff the EOC during emergency response operations. The makeup of the EOC Team depends on the special event or incident and focuses on bringing in the necessary expertise and authority to address problems posed by the event or incident at hand.

The EOC utilizes the tenets of the FEMA Incident Command Structure or “ICS” as the organizational structure during activations. Within this structure, the EOC is organized into five sections to manage operations. These EOC sections include:

  • Unified Command/Management: Under the guidance of the County Emergency Management Coordinator (EMC), this section has overall responsibility for the management and direction of all EOC activities including development, implementation and review of strategic decisions. Management directly coordinates with the Executive Policy Group, including the Lancaster County Commissioners, Solicitor, Administrator, Controller as well as local officials, and ensures its strategic direction is implemented in EOC operations.

Unified Command / Management is supported by a Command and General Staff:

  • Finance and Administration Section: The section handles cost accountability, purchase authorizations, documentation and risk assessment.
  • Logistics: Logistics is responsible for procuring supplies, personnel and material support necessary to conduct emergency responses (e.g. personnel call-out, equipment acquisition, lodging, transportation, food, etc.).
  • Operations: This section represents on-scene emergency responders and provides coordination between the EOC and field operations, including the ICP.
  • Planning and Intelligence: This section is responsible for receiving, evaluating and analyzing all disaster information and providing updated status reports to EOC management and field operations. The planning and intelligence section is also responsible for damage assessment and developing specialized technical assessments of events.

Organizing for Incident Management – Community Lifelines

The Lancaster County EOC organizes its EOC team under the Community Lifelines structure. The Community Lifelines concept was released by FEMA in 2019 as a reporting structure to quickly assess the status of evolving incidents in a community and provides for a way to quickly visualize spaces in the community that require additional resources to facilitate stabilization, and a subsequent, rapid transition to recovery.