Virtual EOCs and the Pandemic

Best Practice Guide

Lessons learned from COVID and strategies for improving emergency operations

Gone but not forgotten are the early days of the pandemic, especially for frontline workers.

Healthcare workers in overburdened hospitals did their best to treat patients of the then-novel coronavirus – often without the necessary protective equipment. The result was high rates of infection among healthcare workers.

Healthcare, however, wasn’t the only frontline sector deeply affected by the pandemic. Public safety, emergency and disaster response were, as well.

For decades prior to the pandemic, incident command had become increasingly clustered in physical emergency operations centres (EOCs) – centralised locations where decision makers congregate to guide emergency response and recovery.

Amid a novel respiratory virus, something had to change to prevent person-to-person transmission.

Required, instead, were virtual modes of emergency operations, especially after the pandemic forced many physical EOCs to go remote, often for the first time.

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