Emergency Operation Centre

As a UBC faculty or staff member, you may — or may not — have a predefined role in an emergency response. Nevertheless, if an emergency strikes, you could be in a position to take action. Here’s what you should know.

A coordinated emergency response

Emergency responses often bring together a team of people with a variety of skill sets often from multiple agencies. To be effective, a common approach to the command, control, and coordination of the response is needed. This standard approach is referred to as an Incident Command System (ICS).

When emergencies require significant resources or management, organizations require a strategic level of support to coordinate an effective response. Under ICS, this is the role of an Emergency Operations Centre (EOC).

What is an Emergency Operations Centre?

An EOC is a predesignated location where people come together to manage the response to an event that has significantly strained or overwhelmed regular operations.  An EOC involves responders from the site of the incident, i.e. UBC, but may also require coordination with multiple external responders or agencies.

When is an EOC activated?

An EOC may be activated when:

  • Significant number of people at risk or impacted
  • Response coordination is required
  • Resource coordination is required
  • Uncertain conditions or a need to monitor
  • Potential threat, imminent or actual impact to people, property or the environment
  • Concern that normal operations may be overwhelmed
  • Major planned event

Who else uses the EOC format?

UBC has adopted the British Columbia Emergency Management System (BCEMS), a system developed by the Province of British Columbia and based on ICS. BCEMS ensures a coordinated and organized, multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional response and recovery to any and all emergency incidents.

For instance, all EOCs have defined roles for responders, which are represented through colour coordinated vests. This allows for roles and responsibilities to be clear and visible to all. Roles fall under the categories of: leadership (green), information (red), operations (orange), planning (blue), logistics (yellow), and finance (grey).

How do we implement this at UBC?

Every year, UBC holds an emergency training exercise to better position individuals and the institution for real emergencies. To learn more, visit Emergency Management Program Training Exercises.

To learn more about UBC’s emergency preparedness training, visit Emergency Preparedness Training.