The County of Santa Barbara needed a permanent, modern home where emergency managers could operate to ensure that the appropriate resources and emergency public information were allocated and delivered when they were needed the most. The $7.4 million, 11,000 SF building also provides a permanent home for the Office of Emergency Services and will be maintained in a state of readiness so that the County’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) can be activated when needed in support of the emergencies within the county operational area, including large-scale incidents in the county’s seven cities. The new space encompasses several technology-enabled spaces, including the incident management room, management conference room, breakout room, joint information center, media distribution system, director’s office, staff break room, and lobby.
A centerpiece to the design is the role of iPad-based control as envisioned by NV5. Five mobile tablets devices, operating on the building’s secured Wi-Fi network, allow the EOC to control the majority of its systems with a graphically intuitive user control system interface. The tablet not only controls all audiovisual components and displays throughout the EOC, but also provides the staff with complete control of the new system right at their fingertips, allowing them to focus more on making quick emergency response decisions. At the heart of the EOC is the incident management room, the main operations center for the county’s emergency management staff. Designed with flexible seating configurations for approximately 40 people from county and municipal agencies, the room features audiovisual presentation technologies to help meet an array of incident needs. The primary display consists of three wall-mounted front projection screens to accommodate widescreen images from three ceiling-mounted video projectors.
The management conference room and the breakout room each can host up to 16 participants and feature audiovisual systems that accommodate synchronous video conferencing and multimedia presentation. They each feature a 70-inch, wall-mounted flat-panel display for use with presentation materials. The management conference room has two 55-inch wall-mounted flat-panel displays for video conferencing. The joint information center, which acts as the primary public information office, displays the status during an emergency to enable public information officers to distribute critical updates to the general public.