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Updated EOC is looking A-OK

Ben Godar

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.

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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.

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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

renovation.

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“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

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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.


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