State Emergency Operations Center
Independence Day, 1996, was celebrated by the Florida Division of Emergency Management in a unique way: in addition to commemorating the birth of our Nation, Division staff and employees were moving into the new State Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee.
Three years in planning, the new EOC, located in the State of Florida Capital Center Office Complex on Capital Circle SW in Tallahassee, is the finest facility of its kind in the Nation.
Designed for its purpose by experienced architects working with the staff of the Division, the facility has 20,000 sq. ft., and houses, in addition to the Emergency Operations Center, the offices for some employee of the Division and the State Warning Point.
Immediately adjacent to the new EOC, and accessible via a covered walkway, is the Sadowski Office Building, which houses the remainder of the Division's Tallahassee work force.
The old facility was in rented office space in the Koger Center, two miles north of the new location, and was totally inadequate for the response to and operation of Emergency Management Support Functions for the State. During EOC activation for a major event, as many as 200 people were required to staff the EOC. The 4,000 sq. ft. EOC could not accommodate those people and the facility provided no office space for support staff or for other agencies required to be in the EOC during activation, such as FEMA representatives. In addition, during the recovery phase of most disasters, the Division had to rent additional office space throughout Tallahassee to house the large number of additional employees and agencies required for the recovery.
In addition to the 6,000 sq. ft. main operations room, the new facility has large offices for each Emergency Support Function required during an activation and dedicated rooms for special purposes, such as the Media Briefing Room, the Governors Conference Room, several smaller meeting rooms and a kitchen/dining area.
Features of the new EOC include a modern, effective projection system in the main room for briefings and training. 5 overhead projectors permit display of 10 foot tall status reports, weather radar and satellite images, commercial, cable, tape or satellite television programming. Any computer screen, such as specialized computers in the Division, such as the Geographic Information Systems screens, screens from the computers used to track severe storms or hurricanes or the live weather radar image from any location. can be projected on any of the 5 large screens in the EOC and specialized computers in the Division, such as the Geographic Information Systems screens, screens from the computers used to track severe storms or hurricanes or the live weather radar image from any location.
The new facility also has a modern and effective audio and public address system which permits broadcasting briefings, the audio from television programming, two-way radio and satellite transmissions, telephone traffic, etc., throughout the building including into adjacent offices, the Governors Conference Room, the Media Briefing Room and other locations.
Because of the very nature and requirement of an Emergency Operations Center, the facility must be available and usable under any conditions. To insure the survivability of the structure, it was designed to withstand 200 MPH winds and the windows will resist wind-borne objects blown by 125 MPH winds.
All critical equipment in the Emergency Operations Center, including the satellite terminals, the computers and the radio equipment, is supported by an Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS) that will power the critical equipment for up to 7 hours following failure of commercial power. A 500 kilowatt diesel generator on-site will power the entire EOC and critical portions of the adjoining Sadowski Office Building indefinitely during failure of commercial electricity.