BCG Hosts Emergency Operations Center Exercise in Rockland County, NY
Buffalo Computer Graphics (BCG), Inc. recently took part in administering a training session and Emergency Operations Center (EOC) exercise for Rockland County Office of Fire and Emergency Services in New York. The exercise utilized BCG's DisasterLAN (DLAN) software, which has been used by the County since 2011. Rockland County Office of Fire and Emergency Services and other agencies participated in the one-hour training session aimed at refreshing and highlighting major tools in DLAN, followed by an exercise inside Rockland County's EOC. The exercise simulated a hazardous winter storm with realistic situational information updated throughout the day. Injects, or pre-staged developments, were created by BCG staff to test the communication and GIS functional areas of the EOC.
BCG created injects for communication personnel that aimed to test and challenge the way they collect, distribute, and communicate information across agency and county lines. Scenarios were played out that specifically tested the way Public Information Officers resolve conflicting information in reports from local, county, and state entities. Injects were also added from different county agencies as well as from contiguous counties in New Jersey to highlight response challenges when sharing information, problem solving, and reporting across agency, county, and state lines. In addition, the scenario highlighted the ability to send information and requests from the Rockland County DLAN system to New York States' incident management system, NY Responds. Participants were able to follow updates made in both systems as the County and States system synced in real time.
GIS staff was tested with injects that focused on available data and how to prioritize, resolve, and verify the locations of key facilities being reported from multiple outlets. The scenario provided GIS with the opportunity to produce, distribute, and display data in multiple formats including on DLAN Status Boards and the Common Operational Picture (COP) viewer. This also allowed participating agencies to review what data sets may be useful and what gaps may exist that they could provide to the GIS staff.
BCG staff also provided general support and on-the-spot training for all staff members. Participation in the exercise marks another example of BCG's commitment to being an emergency response partner beyond its role as an EOC software vendor.