EOC Group and its Functions in NIMS

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alex kotliarskyi QBpZGqEMsKg unsplash

What is an EOC  group ?

The EOC is the emergency operations center. It is the organization responsible for initiating and managing an emergency. The purpose of the EOC is to evaluate the magnitude of the event, authorize requests for response, monitor progress, coordinate response efforts, provide status reports and information to decision makers, and make decisions regarding continuing or terminating responses.”

The EOC group is the team of individuals responsible for implementing the decision making processes for the EOC. The chain of command within the EOC starts at state level, to Area Directors , to Division Directors and then through section chiefs to team leaders.

 The EOC Group consists of all organization personnel, who are responsible for implementing operations and response activities as directed by senior management, usually directed by an Incident Commander .

The Chain of Command:

” In order to provide a properly functioning NIMS emergency management system all levels (i.e., federal, state, tribal and local) must follow the accepted NIMS chain of command. This means that in most cases, decisions are made at the federal level, but states and tribes have their own chain of command if they have established one. 

For example, if a county has their own Emergency Operations Center (EOC), state EOCs would then have authority over their respective counties. Finally, local entities would have authority over their respective state and federal agencies.”

“The Administrator of FEMA :

Is the single ultimate authority on emergency management matters. His/her national assistant is the Associate Administrator for Emergency Preparedness and Response , who oversees all federal emergency management activities. The President of the United States has executive level authority over all federal emergency management agencies and personnel. The OMB Director also provides oversight.

Which of the following is an EOC function?

1) Monitor the environment and track event progress :

“Monitoring the environment” refers to continuously identifying and assessing:

This group is very important in each of the eoc function listed above. It’s responsible for updating the other eoc group for any changes that happen:

It’s also responsible for receiving any incoming information from other companies, agencies or individuals. They must have a clear idea of the current situation so they can issue the correct announcement or message to their public audience. 

2) Coordinate and oversee response activities :

“Coordination and oversight are two different processes; both are necessary to ensure successful operations. Coordination involves working with others on a “team” basis (i.e. staff, volunteers, etc.) to develop plans that can be successfully implemented. Oversight refers to the actual monitoring of response activities and minimization of risks.”

The coordination is teamwork and meetings or phone calls are usually held at regular intervals in order to make sure everything’s going smoothly and everyone’s still on the same page. If something happens and a certain contingency has been identified, it is the EOC’s job to inform their people accordingly.

3) Monitor and report status :

“Status reports describe a record of activities that reflect progress toward objectives. This category of information describes the progress made toward meeting mission criteria or achieving an objective. It is factual, not predictive. It is a tally of who, what, where and when. It describes activities real-time and may anticipate future actions.”

“Status reporting begins with situational awareness. Situational awareness represents a snapshot of who, what, where and when (the status) at a point in time. It is the first phase in an eoc function analysis of any event or problem. Situational awareness informs the public about what is happening and its expected duration.”

“Situational assessment is ongoing monitoring of the current situation to detect change: changes in needs or resources; changes in hazards; or changes that may indicate response efforts are ineffective. It is the second phase in an eoc function analysis of any event or problem. It requires a clear picture of the situation, a prediction regarding its development and a comparison of that prediction with what is actually occurring.”

4) Decision making involves determining:

Decisions should reflect consensus and be based on assessment, when possible. A decision should not be made if it doesn’t accomplish the desired result. Decision times are critical in emergency management and should be made as quickly as possible without compromising effectiveness.”

The EOC Group is responsible for implementing a number of activities and processes needed to effectively respond to an emergency or disaster. The following list of activities was taken from the FEMA website.The level of complexity and responsibility that is expected from the EOC group is reflected in the numbers of individuals present at a given incident. According to FEMA, there may be anywhere between 10 and 50 people in an EOC.”


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