Keywords: emergency management, training exercises, EOC, emergency operations centres, local government, crisis management, disaster management, emergency preparedness, New Zealand, Canada, United States, USA, competencies, response management, multi–agency response, decision making, structural modelling
The use of emergency operations centres in local government emergency management
This paper presents exploratory research into how local government emergency operations centres (EOCs) are used during emergency management preparedness activities, through a questionnaire survey of 48 organisations from New Zealand, Canada, and USA. Analysis was framed by defining effective emergency management as a person–environment fit process in which both person (competence, response management system) and environment (e.g., need for multi–agency response, decision making about complex, evolving emergencies) characteristics should be modelled in training. Each organisation was unique in their approach and the extent their EOC was active during training. Training tended to focus on implementing the structural model (e.g., CIMS) and less on developing the competencies necessary for people to operate effectively at a tactical or coordinating level of emergency management. There was recognition of a need to further develop approaches to training, with 63% of organisations stating that they would like more guidance and advice in emergency management training.