Emergency Operations Center Layouts

An emergency operations center layout can include an individual room where all direction and control are made, or a central room surrounded by segregated spaces that function separately during a crisis. Communications, resource management and continuity of operations should remain in the central operations room; however there are important support activities that can reside in individual rooms that do not interfere with primary operations. These include leadership and administrative offices, breakout areas, conference and training rooms. The actual building layout will vary considerably due to size, configuration, function, operation and the site constraints of individual emergency operations centers.
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Examples of “One Room” Layouts for Emergency Operations Centers
When it comes to emergency operations center layout and design, there are many things to consider that are outside space planning, custom furnishings and video wall integration. These include, but are not limited to, site and building considerations such as survivability, accessibility, security, electrical, heating, sanitation, and provisions. For new construction or major upgrades, we partner with the owner, architect, engineer and the trades to do our part, however our focus is on the interior space where people interact with each other and their equipment.
The operations room is the nerve center. It’s a large meeting area designed to facilitate operational decision-making and is configured in accordance with the concept of operations. The operations room will generally be arranged with key coordinating staff and decision-makers located at the front when there are no large video screens, otherwise in the rear facing the screens, or at the head of groups of supporting staff spaced throughout the room. However, the concept of operations, budget and available space ultimately dictate the furniture layout and capabilities.
Modern emergency operations center design includes four general configurations. The number of seats in the operations room is a function of the number of staff required to do the job on a continuous basis. Regardless of the chosen furniture layout, staff must see shared large screens and speak to the people that they need to interact with throughout the event.
Configuration 1: Clusters in Rows
This arrangement emphasizes working groups, or teams of different specialties under the leadership of one or more staff facing the groups. If including a video wall at the front of the room, the leadership would be placed at the head of each cluster, or at the back of the room in order to see the large displays.
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Configuration 2: Rows Facing One Direction
This layout in rows facing forward, focuses the staff on a common issue, each with their own input. The rows face the large video screens, or the leadership at the front of the room.
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Configuration 3: “V” Shape Groups
This arrangement is made up of groups in “V” formations with the leader and other members of the group representing individual specialties. If there are large displays at the front of the room, the groups will face that direction. The leadership would be placed at the back of the room, or at the head of the groups depending on placement of the large video displays and concept of operations.
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Configuration 4: Conference Room
This furniture configuration is similar to a standard conference room arrangement either with a large table, or multiple tables facing inward. This configuration is more appropriate for dual-purpose conference or training rooms, small emergency operations centers, or policy groups within larger emergency operations centers. The video wall is placed at the head of the table, or the “V” shape formation.
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Americon Custom Furniture Designs and Configurations
When it comes to emergency operations center design, custom dispatch furniture is a critical component of the solution. Specialized furniture offers options that go beyond basic tables or desks, and large screens on the wall. Here is a custom configuration that incorporates large screen LCD panels into each cluster. These LCD panels display information specific to the interest of the group and may or may not accompany large screen displays at the front of the room.The LCD panels rise automatically and each group controls what’s displayed on their individual display.
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Let me develop a floor plan and design concept for your emergency operations center that meet your individual needs by contacting me by phone, information request or email.
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