Los Angeles County Emergency Operations Center
Los Angeles, CA
The County of Los Angeles, with a population of 8 to 9 million people, required an adequate Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to meet the public’s needs during an emergency. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved an expenditure of $22 million for the construction of this new facility. The communications and security budgets alone totaled over $8 million, more than one-third of the construction budget.
ACSI was initially engaged by the County to provide electronics, security and communications planning, and QC/QA (commissioning) services for the new EOC. ACSI assisted the County in selecting architectural firms for the design phases of the project. ACSI prepared written recommendations based on FEMA requirements and the County’s Emergency Preparedness Plan to augment the program, and prepared communications and security criteria and system estimates for the project.
ACSI was subsequently engaged to provide a systems analysis and Design Intent Documents (DIDs) for the EOC’s computerized communications and graphic mapping systems, the backbone of the new emergency operations system. The analysis was performed using Yourdon’s “Structured Analysis” technique. The graphic mapping system covers the entire County, and links with the Sheriff’s current computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system.
Using the information gained through its Yourdon analysis, ACSI prepared specifications for the Center’s computerized emergency management and communication system. Using ACSI’s design, the County engaged a systems integrator and the Emergency Management Information System (EMIS). This center is acknowledged by most authorities to be the most advanced system of its type; many believe it is the new trendsetter for county governments throughout the United States.
ACSI subsequently performed project/construction management and systems commissioning services during the design and construction of the new EOC facility. Due to the $8 million communications and security budget and the unique nature of the custom systems to be installed, ACSI’s services included assisting the County and the A/E team in the selection of qualified electronics sub-consultants and contractors for the design, construction, and installation of these specialized systems.
The new EOC serves as a hub for a multiplicity of communications systems including voice telephone (two serving utilities plus cellular), data communications and radio (HF, VHF, UHF, microwave and satellite). The flexibility and coverage of these systems provides a high level of redundancy for communicating at local, regional, and state levels. While highly interconnected, each of the major systems is fully independent thus service to minimize the impacts of any particular disaster or emergency situation. ACSI provided planning, conceptualization, and commissioning services directly to the County for these systems.
PRESENTATION AND DISTRIBUTION SYSTEMS:
The rapid dissemination of information to the emergency response staff assembled in the EOC is paramount. One key to the achievement of this objective is the A/V presentation and distribution systems included in the project. Using modern electronic media storage and retrieval techniques, information gathered from the local radio and TV broadcasters, satellite video resources such as CNN, video “shot” by cameras located in Sheriff’s Department helicopters, computer graphics generated by the Emergency Management System and other information gathered by the several County departments is stored in the distribution Center. From there it is readily available to large groups assembled in the situation room, smaller departmental groups in their workspaces or individuals seated at their workstations.
The distribution center is the location where all of the media reception, storage, distribution and control equipment is placed. Using a programmable touch screen remote control panel, any of the electronic information source equipment can be selected for viewing in a number of locations. The touch-screen panel then allows the user to control the media sources (channel selection, start, stop, pause, etc.). Due to the use of high resolution computer generated displays and maps, all of the large screen and monitor displays have multiscan capabilities to automatically adjust their scan rates to match those of the video source equipment.