Emergency Coordination Centre

The ECC is established in a suitable location away from the incident site (e.g. municipal office) to manage the larger aspects of the emergency and to exercise the authority of the local officials.

The ECC functions as a point of coordination or “nerve centre”, addressing the needs of the municipality as a whole as well as anticipating and supporting the needs of one or more incident sites.  Coordination and dissemination of information is another critical function of the ECC. 

The Director of Emergency Management (DEM or their deputy) becomes the Director of Emergency Coordination during and incident and is in charge of the ECC.  Representation at the ECC includes members of the emergency management agency (i.e. the emergency social services manager, emergency public information officer, representatives of municipal departments as well as emergency response agencies such as fire, police, EMS, and may include regional health authorities and industry). Members of the emergency management agency present in the ECC must have experience and authority to make decisions on behalf of their services.

The ECC team's primary tasks include:

  • mobilization of the ECC team
  • providing emergency warnings and information to the public and media
  • managing the overall municipal response to the emergency or disaster
  • assessing the need for a State of Local Emergency and advising elected officials
  • planning for continued operations/services in unaffected areas of the municipality
  • confirming the incident commander(s)
  • tracking expenditures related to the event
  • establishing links with other operational sites such as schools, industry, utilities, reception centers and health centers
  • identifying issues (e.g. extraordinary expenditures)
  • ensuring recovery activities are undertaken
  • monitoring staff wellness

The Emergency Coordination Centre may benefit from using the 14 principles of ICS.  Like ICS at the site of the incident, the use of a couple of titles or an ICS organization chart does not meet the requirements of using all 14 principles.   Once all the principles of ICS have been applied in the ECC, a couple of modifications may be required.  These include:

  • Changing the title of "Incident Commander" in the ECC to either ECC Director or ECC Manager to prevent any confusion of command of the site.  
  • Changing the title of "Information Officer" in the ECC to "Emergency Public Information Officer" or EPIO.   While the Information Officer under ICS has some responsibilities for providing information to the public, the Information Officer role at an ECC includes providing information within the incident site, on unaffected areas of the jurisdiction, compilation of information when there are multiple sites, and emergency public warning duties as well.  The Information Officer deals strictly within the site whereas the EPIO role covers all aspects of the community's emergency response. 

The AEMA Field Officer will be present at the ECC whenever possible to provide advice and a link to provincial resources. In a high impact emergency, there may be a number of other ECCs established in support of response efforts. These may include municipal service department or industry ECCs (regional, headquarters), a joint regional ECC and the Provincial Operations Centre (POC). The federal government may also become involved depending on the situation.

It is important that there is ongoing communication and co-ordination among the various ECCs.

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