As a public safety manager or supervisor, revamping an existing Emergency Operation Center (EOC) or building one from scratch can be daunting. With the increasing threats, from natural disasters to cyber-attacks, we understand that having a resilient and well-designed EOC is more important than ever. 

Many public safety leaders encounter common challenges, such as outdated technology, inefficient layouts, and inadequate communication systems. These issues not only hinder emergency response efforts but also put the safety and well-being of both responders and the public at risk. The pressure to modernize the Emergency Operation Center while sticking to tight budgets and regulations can feel overwhelming. 

In this guide, we'll tackle these challenges and provide you with practical insights and strategies to help you build an Emergency Operation Center. Whether starting from scratch or looking to upgrade, this comprehensive approach will ensure that the EOC is equipped to handle any crisis. 


Understanding the Purpose of an EOC 

An Emergency Operation Center is a dedicated space where key decision-makers and support personnel come together to manage emergencies and disasters. The primary functions of an EOC include: 

  • Coordination: Facilitating communication and collaboration among various agencies and departments. 
  • Information Management: Gathering, analyzing, and disseminating critical information. 
  • Resource Allocation: Managing resources efficiently to ensure a swift and effective response. 
  • Strategic Planning: Developing and implementing response strategies. 

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Key Considerations When Building an Emergency Operation Center 

Our approach integrates five main pillars to build an EOC: Physical Considerations, Technology Considerations, Operational Requirements, Flexibility & Scalability, and People.   


Physical Considerations:  

  • Architectural Design. Plan for an open floor layout to facilitate communication and collaboration. Include breakout rooms for private discussions and rest areas for staff. 
  • Infrastructure Requirements: Ensure the building can support the technological and operational needs, with reliable power, HVAC systems, and redundancy. 
  • Regulatory Compliance: Adhere to all relevant safety and building codes to guarantee the safety of the facility and dispatchers. 


Technology Considerations 


  • Core Technology Infrastructure. Equip the EOC with advanced communication systems, including redundant internet connectivity, radio systems, and telephony. 
  • User-Focused Technology: Implement user-friendly interfaces and systems that streamline operations and reduce the learning curve for personnel. 
  • Collaborative Technology: Utilize data visualization tools and interactive displays to foster real-time information sharing and decision-making. 
  • Cybersecurity Requirements: Protect against cyber threats with robust cybersecurity measures to ensure the integrity and availability of critical systems. 


Operational Requirements 


  • Collaboration Requirements: Design the EOC to facilitate seamless communication and coordination among various agencies and departments. 
  • Operating Model: Establish clear protocols for normal and upset operations to ensure smooth transitions during crises. 
  • Regulatory Requirements: Comply with all operational regulations and standards to maintain a high level of preparedness and operational effectiveness. 


Flexibility & Scalability  

  • Operational Scope Design the EOC to handle a range of incidents, from small-scale emergencies to large-scale disasters. 
  • Physical Space & Infrastructure: Ensure the EOC can expand, or contract as needed, with modular workstations and adaptable spaces.
  • Technology: Implement scalable technology solutions that can grow with the evolving needs of the EOC. 
  • Operational Model: Develop flexible operating procedures that can be adjusted based on the nature and scale of the emergency. 



The people who operate the EOC are its most valuable asset. Prioritizing their needs and well-being is crucial for maintaining a high level of performance during critical situations. 

  • Ergonomics: Design workstations and the overall layout to promote comfort and reduce fatigue. Ergonomically designed furniture and equipment can significantly enhance productivity and well-being. 
  • HMI Considerations: Human-Machine Interface (HMI) considerations ensure that systems are intuitive and easy to use, minimizing errors and training time. 
  • Operator Comfort: Provide amenities such as climate control, comfortable seating, and rest areas to support the physical and mental well-being of staff during extended operations. 


By focusing on these five pillars, you can build an Emergency Operation Center that not only meets the operational demands of today but is also prepared for the challenges of tomorrow. Our approach ensures that every aspect of the EOC is designed with both functionality and the well-being of its operators in mind. 



Building an Emergency Operation Center is a complex task that requires careful planning. By focusing on Physical Considerations, Technology Considerations, Operational Requirements, Flexibility & Scalability, and People, you can create an EOC that enhances your ability to respond to emergencies effectively.  

For public safety managers and supervisors, putting resources into a well-designed EOC is crucial for the safety and resilience of your community. If you're looking to build an EOC that will stand the test of time and adapt to your growing needs, the solution is clear: partner with experts who know the ins and outs of control room design. We have the experience and knowledge to help you create a state-of-the-art emergency operation center tailored to your specific requirements.  

Looking to build your EOC from scratch or revamp the existing one?  

Let's talk 

Topics: Public Safety