If a natural disaster or even a terrorist attack strikes Burbank,
local officials have the latest technology at their fingertips as
they work to keep the city running.
Renovations to the Emergency Operations Center, to the tune of
$200,000, started in May and were recently completed. Improvements to
the EOC, at the Fire Training Center on Ontario Street, include
updated wiring and audiovisual systems.
During a disaster, command officials from various branches of the
city gather at the EOC to coordinate their activities. It was used
following the Northridge earthquake in 1994 and the year 2000
rollover. It was also used in August on a limited capacity when the
Brand Park fire in Glendale crept into Burbank.
Fire Chief Mike Davis said the function of the EOC has not
changed, but officials have better tools at their disposal with the
“I don’t think we’ll use it any differently, we’ll just use it
more effectively,” he said.
Completion of the work is especially timely, given the potential
for terrorist attacks following military strikes in Iraq. Fire Capt.
Ron Barone, acting disaster preparedness coordinator, said the
communications center could be activated at any time.
The improvements focused on flexibility, Davis said, for the
center’s configuration and future upgrades, including the
installation of special floors. The raised flooring allows a variety
of wires and cords to be routed underneath, and access panels allow
for easier changes.
The EOC’s audio-visual system also received a complete overhaul.
One button can activate four televisions and seven video screens, to
broadcast everything from area television stations to live footage
from the police helicopter. Cameras mounted in the ceiling also allow
officials to go live to the city’s cable channel, Charter
Communications Channel 6, at any time.
“We designed this facility to be conducive to gathering and
disseminating information electronically,” he said.
The equipment won’t just be sitting around waiting for a disaster.
The room is used regularly for firefighting classes at the Fire
Training Center, and Barone said instructors have all the computers
and audio-visual equipment at their disposal.
The EOC is already drawing attention from other cities. Barone
said several departments in the area have contacted him looking for
ideas to improve their own facilities.
“I don’t think there’s an EOC out there that does more than this
one does,” he said.