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Built and activated in 1994 at a cost of $12.9 million, the Ohio Emergency Operations Center/Joint Dispatch Facility enhances the state’s capability to respond to disasters and emergencies.
The two-level building encloses more than 90,000 square feet and measures 252 feet by 168 feet. Most of the facility is below ground level. A steel frame unit was built over a poured concrete structure for maximum disaster protection.
The building is self-sufficient and can operate for extended periods of time independent of outside power supplies or communications facilities. A sophisticated air filtration system is connected to air intakes.
The Center includes both men's and women's dormitories, a small infirmary, a decontamination facility and a kitchen and dining area.
The Center can activate a high-security perimeter. Many interior doors are equipped with card-access locks to protect critical or sensitive areas.
COMMUNICATIONS - A vast array of communications facilities are available for use within the Center, including the National Warning System, which is installed in a steel-jacketed vault that is lightning-proof and can withstand the electromagnetic pulse from a nuclear detonation. The National Warning System provides a direct link to national command authorities in Cheyenne Mountain, Col., state emergency response centers throughout the United States, all 23 Ohio Highway Patrol posts, the National Weather Service and U.S. Government officials anywhere in the world.
Other communications systems include the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Weather Satellite System, the Law Enforcement Automated Data System, the STU III secure voice telephone system for encrypted communications and the Ohio Emergency Alert System, linking the Ohio EMA with commercial radio stations throughout the state. The Center also is equipped with extensive direct satellite connections, including mobile units that can be deployed rapidly.
EMERGENCY OPERATIONS ROOM - The EOC itself houses 52 workstations where emergency personnel conduct a coordinated response to severe, emergency events. Each workstation is equipped with a networked computer and several communications devices. The Operations Room’s several overhead video systems can display a Geographical Information System with overlays of 22 sets of data over a state map. Video signals from anywhere in the world, including those originated by emergency response personnel at the scene of a disaster, can be displayed within the Operations Room.
EXECUTIVE and ADMINISTRATIVE SUITES – The Center also encloses several areas adjacent to the Operations Center where executive officials of the state of Ohio and the EMA may assess an emergency event and plan the overall strategy of response and recovery. Each of these areas is equipped with extensive video and communication capabilities.
JOINT DISPATCH FACILITY - The Ohio Highway Patrol, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Ohio Department of Transportation each share space on the lower level of the EOC. The two state departments use this facility for central radio dispatch throughout the state. The Patrol dispatches emergency inquiries from its area. The JDF also acts as the 24-hour answering point for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the Ohio EMA.
STATE HIGHWAY PATROL DISTRICT 6 - Columbus District 6, one of 10 Patrol districts in the state, is based on the Emergency Operations Center’s upper level. This District HQ oversees and coordinates Patrol operations in nine central Ohio counties.