emergency operations center becomes virtual

We’ve written before about the Mt. Lebanon Emergency Operations Center and how, when needed, the emergency management team and municipal manager activate it on the second floor of the Public Safety Center, 555 Washington Road. But what if, say, a storm blew out the windows in that room, or the power went out?

The emergency management team, led by firefighters Chris Buttlar, Bob Gaetano and Kevin Abbott, briefed Mt. Lebanon’s senior management on new procedures that will allow the EOC to operate “virtually;” that is, anywhere there is a power cord and a laptop.

Tantamount to serving residents is communication between departments. Instead of everyone in the center swapping emails using individuals’ municipal addresses, the center has job-specific email addresses now. That’s so if one person finishes a shift but the emergency continues, the next staffer can jump right in and see all the correspondence and work that has taken place. “The email address is a function instead of a person,” Buttlar says.

Additionally, with the use of Google Drive, all needed documents are located in the cloud, for any EOC worker to pull down. Budgets, news release templates, phone directories, status reports and action logs are all available to anyone on the system. Emergency management also updated several large binders filled with procedures and documentation that staff would use in the event of an emergency.