EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER
Take Control of the Situation
Congress can make a general,
but it takes a radio operator to
make him a commanding general.
—USMC Radio Operator School slogan
After you have developed your disaster recovery plan the final step is the creation of your Emergency Operations Center. The terms Emergency Operations Center, war room, and Command Center all invoke images of serious-faced people feverishly scurrying around trying to address one major problem or another. These terms imply action and direction of resources toward a goal. For the Emergency Operations Center, the goal is the return to service from a business emergency. In this sense, an Emergency Operations Center is a temporary tool to coordinate your containment and recovery efforts.
The radio school quote at the top of this page, trite as it is, provides a great deal of insight into a serious problem. Unless leaders can communicate with their workers, they are unable to lead. Imagine a horde of well-meaning technical people (and a few who amuse themselves with mischief) all scurrying around trying to fix a problem regardless of what the person on their left or right is doing. Some people would be wiring equipment up, only to have someone come in behind them and disconnect everything. No coordinated action, no focused activity, just confusion. Of course, you would have no clue as to the progress being made while your boss demands an accurate update every hour. Not a pretty sight.
Now consider the alternative. A disaster occurs, and everyone knows where to report. Someone at the recovery site is documenting who is available and assigning them to teams based on the problem and each individual’s expertise. As a team is created, they are dispatched under the direction of a single person. As the teams