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'We're Ready,' Says Emergency Operations Center

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Friday, August 14, 2009, at 07:49AM
IMGP6559 Ed Fuentes

City officials cut the ribbon on the new Temple St. facility.



The city opened its new $107-million Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Thursday morning, replacing the outdated bunker underneath City Hall East with a facility packed with high-tech monitoring and communications systems.

“Today, the city of Los Angeles has a 21st century facility ready to respond to 21st century threats." said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

The two-story EOC is 84,000 square feet with blast-resistant walls and is designed to withstand a 8.0 quake. Located on Temple Street, just north of the Arts District and east of Little Tokyo, the $107-million center was funded via Proposition Q, a 2002 $600-million public safety bond measure.

Inside the center, a 7,500 square foot Main Coordination Room (MCR) will use sixteen desks––work pods––dedicated to National Incident Management System / Incident Command System standards. Officials can coordinate law and safety responses to major natural disasters such as earthquakes, wildfires, and flooding, along with acts of terrorism.

The building is designed to be aware of community aesthetic as much as safety, said 9th District Councilwoman Jan Perry. A long-time Buddist temple is next door, and the Emergency Facility doesn't impose a foreboding presence.

Rather, the building and grounds maintain a sense of calm, smart efficiency, something preferred in any emergency or large public gathering. The center is also designed to monitor major planned events and "short-term incidents" that deploy multiple City departments, such as marathons, marches, or last minute crowds. "That includes natural, man-made, or . . celebrity," adds Perry.

The emergency nerve center is equipped with integrated monitors enabling officials to view scores of surveillance cameras around the city and identity locations with a Google mapping system. Communication is shared with the desks assigned to law, safety, and transportation departments coordinating responses on air and land, while working with county, state and federal agencies.

Unlike the cramped underground bunker, the new facility has breakout rooms for planning, strategy and debriefing and a press room with a view of the MCR.

Just to be safe, the center even has a room dedicated to amateur radio operations.

On Thursday, the monitors around the facility were calm. Along with Google Maps, CNN news, and the ReadyLA.org website, a few were turned to "The Price is Right."

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