County EOC Activations During COVID-19 and What They Tell Us

Last month, Complete EM conducted another simple random survey to explore the level of county EOC involvement in COVID-19 response operations across the U.S. We found that only 56% of counties had activated, that none of the activations placed a public health professional in an EOC leadership role, and that few EOCs maintained COVID-19 specific objectives. Incidentally, we also discovered that 77% of emergency managers didn’t answer their public-facing phones during business hours.

These survey findings suggest that nearly half of EM programs in the U.S. have failed to create sufficient interest and gain support for operation of a single, multi-agency coordination center.  The survey was designed to provide an 80% confidence level and a margin of error +/-10%.

How successful has your program been in both creating interest and gaining commitment to coordinate large-scale, complex emergencies from a common location where interagency collaboration can occur?  How have you prioritized program development activities over the past couple of years?  Grant writing and administration?  Document development? Exercising? Training?  Equipping and supplying? The results of our survey indicate stakeholder engagement needs more attention.

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