How to Outfit a Modern Emergency Operations Center

July 29, 2019 3 mins to read

Business processes and emergency operations are fast-paced and demanding to meet changing conditions. In order to establish an adequately equipped and modern emergency operations center (EOC), managers have to include IT (plus audiovisual system subset) communications, space planning and furnishings.

This article will discuss options for outfitting emergency operations centers with the latest video wall technology and customized EOC furniture. The following steps assume that the facility exists and is habitable.


Formulate essential resources and assemble them: Members of the decision-making team are often dispersed geographically and should be connected by:

  • Large screen video walls
  • Video conferencing capabilities
  • Telephones, speaker phones or headsets.
  • IT network with internet connectivity

Utilize emergency management planning and execution tools: Essential information systems should be shared by geographically separated operating locations. Software designed for EOC management should be in place and operations standardized.

Establish separate conferencing and breakout areas: Agree upon the emergency operations center design and space allocation. Where possible, separate conferencing activities from the main operations center. Conferencing areas should have phone lines, internet connection, specialized furniture, whiteboards and integrated audiovisual systems.

Acquire specially designed furniture for emergency operations: Furniture should be designed for convenience and to facilitate communications between members. Depending on the concept of operations, the furniture should be multipurpose incorporating storage space and adequate surface area for monitors, mid-size CPUs, laptop docking stations, key boards, maps and binders. Flip monitors that close down to a flat desktop are particularly useful when the entire desktop is needed for activities other than computer work. Expect cable raceways, power bars and adjustable key boards. Alternatively, select furniture with adjustable arms for monitors and phones. An effective emergency operations center layout depends largely on furniture that incorporates as many features as possible in the smallest footprint.

Acquire large screen video wall: The latest video wall technology is essential as a primary tool for seeing and hearing what’s going on at affected areas. Utilize the latest emergency management software to gain the most from a video wall system. Modern video wall systems allow you to acquire multiple images, size and place them on the screens, and establish layouts with preassigned hot keys so that combinations of images can be displayed quickly. The video wall should be used for video conferencing, collaboration, directing operations, training and record keeping. Choose space-saving LCD video wall systems for relatively low purchase price, dependability and maintenance. Where appropriate, include integrated sound for low cost and ease of operation.


  • Take professional guidance for designing and implementing a well-equipped emergency operations center.
  • Design the EOC in such a way that it can be rearranged as requirements change.
  • Check and recheck operating tools and instructions before the actual session.
  • Avoid low priced equipment and furniture that could fail during emergency operations.