How the Joint Emergency Operations Centre Works
EMO and Public Safety Canada’s Nova Scotia office established Canada’s first joint emergency operations centre (JEOC) in September 2001. This centre, along with being co-located with the province’s largest municipality (Halifax Regional Municipality) emergency operations centre, allows representatives from all necessary groups to come together during an emergency to manage resources and responses.
The JEOC is equipped with state-of- the-art technology, which aids in planning, managing and executing response and recovery operations. Along with the JEOC’s protocols and procedures, these technologies ensure that decision makers have access to real-time information about emergency events in our communities and across the globe.
The JEOC works under the Incident Command System (ICS) management style. This management protocol is widely used by emergency management and response agencies in North America and is based upon providing a common framework within which people can work together effectively. Recognizing that the JEOC regularly draws in municipal, provincial, federal and private partners who do not routinely work together, ICS is aptly designed to give standard response and operation procedures to reduce the potential for miscommunication during emergencies.
Levels of activation
The JEOC has four designated levels of service. As the centre moves between these levels, different procedures and degrees of staffing will occur. Some potential emergency events, such as forecasted storms, allow the JEOC to move through different levels in sequential order. Unpredictable or immediate events may require the JEOC to move directly to an operational level of service.
1. Out of Service Level
This level of service would only apply if there is something of a technical nature that would prevent the JEOC from moving to a monitoring or operational level within a two-hour time frame. Even while at this level designated JEOC staff will utilize back-up systems to continue monitoring all situations.
2. Routine Service Level
Typically the JEOC is at a routine service level. While at this level, designated staff gather information on real and potential emergency events.
3. Monitoring Service Level
At this level of service, specific personnel have been tasked with being at the JEOC to actively monitor an incident or event, share information with key stakeholders, and respond to enquiries.
4. Operational Service Level
At this level of service, an emergency event is imminent, is occurring or has already occurred and personnel within the JEOC are responding to the event. All EMO personnel, as well as those from impacted departments, agencies, and private industry have been contacted and are either stationed at the JEOC or are on standby to report to the JEOC.
EMO’s Involvement in Public Health Emergencies
EMO provides an all-hazards response process; meaning that our operational procedures are applicable to various types of emergencies, including health emergencies. Additionally, the Province of Nova Scotia has developed a plan specifically for responding to an influenza pandemic.
In the event of an influenza pandemic, or the threat of one, the pandemic plan describes how the departments of Health, Health Promotion and Protection, and Community Services will provide a coordinated response by working closely with their partners. As with any incident potentially impacting the safety of Nova Scotians, EMO would closely monitor the situation and stand ready to facilitate government response to the consequences of a public health emergency.