POINT PLEASANT — The Mason County Office of Emergency Services has finished a complete upgrade of the county Emergency Operations Center.
The Mason County Emergency Operations Center is located within the Emergency Services complex at 911 Emergency Drive just outside Point Pleasant. The Emergency Operations Center, commonly known as the EOC, is the central command and control facility that has the responsibility for emergency preparedness, disaster management, life safety of the residents of Mason County.
Most importantly, it is the home of the emergency management staff. The staff of the EOC, along with the emergency management staff, work together during times of crisis for the betterment of all citizens of Mason County.
During times of crisis, the EOC is responsible for seeing the “big picture” of the event by making operational decisions and leaving tactical decisions to field units. The EOC collects, gathers and analyzes data and makes decisions that best protect the life and property of citizens, disseminate decisions to all concerned agencies and political sub-divisions, and communicate with the public. The EOC and the emergency management staff serve as the conduit between the political subdivisions and citizens of Mason County to the state Emergency Operations Center and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
R.C. Faulk, who serves as deputy director of the Office of Emergency Services, oversaw the entire EOC upgrade project from concept and design, grant writing, delivery, installation, wiring and computer and telephone connectivity. Faulk said that these upgrades bring the EOC into the 21st century with technology and capability that is consistent with upgrades to other EOC’s in the nation and locally aligns with upgrades recently performed at the Enhanced 911 Dispatch Center.
“We went from yard sale-type tables used to hold food and drink at lunch — and occasionally a laptop or old analog phone — to 21st century electronic digital consoles that provide computer access, data and telephone connectivity, and large work space for additional equipment that may be needed depending on the nature of the emergency and the mission of the EOC at any given time,” Faulk said.
Once the consoles were delivered and assembled, it was the responsibility of the Emergency Services staff to set up all the technology on the consoles. All of this work was done by Faulk, who also tested and verified the EOC as functioning as designed before the first use of the upgraded EOC was allowed.
Mason County officials said this was a great cost saving measure in the project by utilizing Faulk’s talents and technological capabilities instead of hiring contractors to perform this work.
“We are ready and capable to support the county and its citizens in a way that we were never able to before,” Faulk said.
Technology is an integral part of the modern day EOC. Mason County utilizes a variety of technology to keep its citizens informed of emergency and non-emergency events.
Faulk, who was recently certified by FEMA in the usage of social media during disasters, said he realizes the need for technology in emergency operations centers and is confident that the Mason County EOC has the ability to perform those functions.
For detailed information about the emergency management social media applications, citizens are encouraged to contact Matthew Gregg, EOC social media operator, at 304-675-9911 or by visiting the Mason County Office of Emergency Services website at www.masoncountyoes.com. Registration links to our commonly used social media applications such as Twitter, Facebook and Nixle that are used to communicate and disseminate information to the public can be found at the above website link.