The competition for FEMA funding was very competitive and the following factors entered into the selection of this city.
- mouth of a river considered a severe flood threat potential
- city areas below sea level
- local dam failure or overflow could inundate a portion
- situated directly on an earthquake fault zone
- potential for liquefaction due to an earthquake as in a 1933 earthquake in the same area (liquefaction is the turning of seemingly solid sandy soil into something akin to 'jello'.
- coastal city with tsunami, water spout, tornado potential
The facility meets the following FEMA standards:
- 2,268 sq. feet in size
- Diesel generator for up to 14 days operation
- 10,000 gallon water container
- Police, Fire, Lifeguard, Public Works and Amateur radios
- Two separate phone systems in case one fails
- Restrooms with showers
- Kitchen facility
- Food for 72 hours for workers
Training was given to those in the City who respond to the EOC and manage major emergencies. Training included the SEMS (Standardized Emergency Management System) and the Incident Command System (ICS) which are required by state law as systems used to manage emergencies in California.
The city activates the EOC when two or more City departments require a large commitment of resources over an extended time period. Usually the City Administrator, Fire or Police Chief, Police Watch Commander or Fire Battalion Chief initiate the activation of the EOC. The Police Dispatch Center then recalls employees to staff the center.
There are three backup sites identified in case this EOC, which is in the City Civic Center, is damaged in an emergency.
Cities are eligible to receive disaster financial assistance help them recover from natural disasters. Due to the Stafford Act, FEMA reimburses 75% of damage and response costs to local jurisdictions. For this particular city, for the ten years between l9988 and l998, the City Emergency Services Office facilitated financial claims of over four million dollars.
(Above extracted from the CERT Newsletter for August 1999 of the City of Huntington Beach, CA. Vol X No 8.)
Each EOC will, by its nature, be somewhat different, but this may help grasp elements of its operational capacity. The larger the jurisdiction the more complex or involved it may be. Concentration of emergencies also factors into the mix. A jurisdiction with few emergencies may be very different than one which faces multiple emergencies yearly.