State-of-the-Art Emergency Operations Center to Aid Emergency Response in Eastern Riverside County
INDIO – Supervisor John J. Benoit invites the public to a special opportunity to see inside the new state-of-the-art center for emergency response for the cities and communities in eastern Riverside County.
A ribbon cutting ceremony for the East County Emergency Operations will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, May 19 at 82-695 Dr. Carreon Blvd. in Indio.
“The East County Emergency Operations Center is an essential asset to the critical work of the county in effective emergency response coordination,” said Supervisor John J. Benoit. “This facility is the most high-tech in the county and it is unlike any in the state. When a natural disaster strikes the desert, this center is where regional operations will be coordinated.”
“Our Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is a major coordinator center that is responsible for carrying out the principles of emergency preparedness and emergency management,” said Riverside County Fire Chief John R. Hawkins. “We must be constantly ready to manage any emergency or other disaster that could impact our county for an extended period of time while being fully self-sufficient. To that end, I credit the Board of Supervisors and the Executive Office for their commitment to emergency management, disaster preparedness and their foresight in planning for future growth.”
The center is in the county-owned facility formerly occupied by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. The sheriff’s department vacated the 14,400-square-foot space in 2012 when they moved to the new Thermal Sheriff’s Station.
The building also houses the telecommunications hub for the Riverside County Department of Information Technology which serves facilities in cities and unincorporated areas throughout eastern Riverside County.
The center is set up to have all new equipment installed in the coming months, including audio visual, video screens and communications systems. It replaces the aging, underground facility that was housed in the basement of the County Administrative Center. Relocating the center to an above ground facility enables the use of cell phones and the most up-to-date emergency response equipment.
“The new East County Emergency Operations Center positions the county in a much better place to ensure that we are fully prepared to respond to and recover from any disaster or emergency that could impact the Coachella Valley,” said Peter Lent, deputy director of Riverside County Fire Department/Office of Emergency Services. “The capabilities in this new facility far exceed what were previously available. Additionally, this facility provides us valuable space that can be used for community education and training.”
The project was spurred by the expansion of detention center beds and is part of the county’s $375 million in improvements to downtown Indio. To clear the site for the future East County Detention Center, the county is demolishing the County Administrative Center that housed the original emergency center.
“Riverside County’s exciting series of projects in Indio allowed us the opportunity to complete this long-lasting improvement to the benefit of all the residents of our valley,” Benoit said.
As part of the project, the telecommunications hub was relocated from the County Administrative Center. Also, the radio tower, used by public safety agencies, was moved from the current jail site to the emergency operations center.
Construction of the $11.1 million project began in July 2013. The emergency operations center was occupied in February 2014.