Colorado New Technologies operates this online incident management facility. The Virtual Emergency Operations Center (TVEOC) is a fully capable, Internet-based, emergency operations center capable of meeting the full range of information gathering and dissemination and coordination functions performed by a bricks and mortar emergency operations center.
- TVEOC is a facility originally designed by Walter Green and Grey La Certe to support operations by the Virginia Office of Emergency Medical Services in 1997.
- Its version 1 earned state and national awards for operations during the attack on the Pentagon in support of the medical response and for supporting National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster response to four hurricanes in Florida in 2004.
- Version 2 was developed during the multi-hurricane responses of 2004 and moved TVEOC from static content stored in text pages to dynamic content stored in a database.
- In 2012 a major effort was initiated by Grey La Certe to modernize TVEOC's design, restructure functions to suit a new mission, and to upgrade it to a completely new development platform for version 3.
- At the same time as work on TVEOC version 3 was initiated, Walter Green developed the Daily Coordination Unit (DCU) as a simplified facility to support training and preparation for response. In this role it proved successful, with regular participation in exercises and in events that did not require a full range of response from our organization.
- In 2013 both facilities were moved to a common server to allow seamless transition from preparation for an event to actual operations in the event. Grey La Certe assumed responsibility for conversion of the DCU to the database architecture. The entire effort has required a complete redesign of both facilities and all of the forms and other types of pages. The DCU now exists as a fully integrated part of TVEOC to handle operations short of activations to support other agencies and organizations.
- In 2017, Colorado New Technologies became the patron organization for TVEOC.
- The mission of The Virtual Emergency Operations Center is to reduce disaster victim mortality, morbidity, and dislocation and to protect property and the environment through direct support to recognized voluntary agencies and governmental organizations that respond to and assist in the recovery from natural, human systems failure, and security disasters.
- All operations are conducted in accordance with memorandums of understanding with the supported organizations. The level of services provided are defined by the supported organization’s mission and needs.
- Operations are conducted in response to developing and ongoing disasters and during internal and other agency exercises. Exercises provide training for the TVEOC staff, test procedures and software, and assure our mission capability.
- All operations are conducted using the National Incident Management System (NIMS) Incident Command System (ICS) organizational structure. All forms (with the exception of supported agency specific forms) are keyed to collect and display data in a format consistent with standard NIMS ICS forms.
- The activation of our facilities in a disaster event is based on four states of alert. Based on the rapidity of onset there may be an orderly flow from one state to the next over a period of time (as much as a week in a tropical cyclone event) or go directly to Activation. In many events no response beyond Communications Watch may be necessary.
- Released – routine operations in the DCU.
- Communications Watch – DCU staffed to monitor a developing event.
- Standby – preliminary actions are taken in TVEOC in response to a high probability that a developing event will require activation of the TVEOC and sustained operations.
- Activation – TVEOC is staffed to provide services to the supported organization or organizations.
- Operation of our facilities requires trained staff who can perform the duties of Incident Commander, the Section Chiefs of the General Staff (Operations, Plans, Logistics, and Finance and Administration), and of selected Branch Director and Unit Leader positions in the NIMS ICS. In addition it requires on-call, expert, site development support to create additional functions to meet emerging supported organization needs during the disaster. Staffing for any incident is based on the workload generated by the incident and the needs of the supported agencies.
- The facilities are designed to be capable of handling multiple events simultaneously. The TVEOC can perform a wide range of functions including situation reporting, alerting, collection of disaster information, internal messaging, maintenance of current contact information, dissemination of mission taskings, etc., for supported organizations. The system is designed to support operations anywhere, at any time, for any duration. As a policy matter we require that operations be conducted in English.
- The DCU functions are internal, enabling us to detect potential events, alert our members, gather information, and be prepared for operations to support our supported agencies. The TVEOC functions as an information hub with reports and other information flowing in through data entry forms, this information being displayed for decision makers in the supported organizations, and the option for standard alerting and tasking flowing out.
Importance of Disaster Information Management:
- It is commonplace for disaster responders to view information management technology as a so-what in the midst of hands on relief delivery. However, there are real and major impacts. Accurate information on what has been done is critical to assuring all needs are being met, and to eliminating potential duplication of response and recovery activities. Accurate documentation of voluntary work performed translates into dollar equivalents based on state standard values for the value of volunteer work (currently in Virginia $24.64 per hour). That value becomes part of the state's request for federal assistance, showing the level of state effort, justifying Presidential Declarations of Disaster, and helping to meet the state funding match requirements for federal assistance.