After more than five years of visits to other facilities, planning, designing and constructing, the new St. Charles County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is move-in ready. The center, located at 1400 T.R. Hughes Boulevard in O’Fallon, is home to the County’s emergency functions that previously were in different areas of the county. It is expected to be fully occupied by the end of the year.
“We will begin moving equipment and staff in soon,” says County Executive Steve Ehlmann. “More than 40 employees will operate out of this facility daily, with the capacity to hold many more in the event of an emergency or disaster. This is a much-needed facility that will bring all of the County’s emergency services together for a more coordinated and efficient response.” The new, 30,000-square-foot facility will house the day-to-day operations of the Department of Emergency Communications. This department maintains and supports the County’s Next Generation 911 phone system and the digital P25 radio system. Emergency Communications provides dispatching services for 12 fire and EMS agencies in the county, as well as the County Police, Sheriff, Corrections and Park Rangers. This function has been housed in Wentzville.
Also moving to the new EOC is the St. Charles County Police Department’s Division of Emergency Management, currently located in a cramped space in the basement of the St. Charles County Jail in St. Charles. Emergency Management staff are tasked with the unified planning and coordination of disaster preparedness, response and recovery. The space will accommodate 17 emergency task groups from municipalities, neighboring jurisdictions and state and federal agencies for major activations. The building is designed to withstand an EF-4 tornado, which is important to ensuring that the facility continues to be operational during severe weather. During emergencies and disasters, staff will be able to monitor live events and data in real time through a variety of systems, enabling a faster response.
Also in the new EOC is the County’s Information Systems Data Center, the “nerve center” for all PCs, telephones, security and video in the building. Dual power, dual UPS, dual generators and dual network links to the entire St. Charles County IT network ensure security and resiliency. In the future, the EOC Data Center will support the County’s overall technology infrastructure needs. Currently, the County’s data center is in the County’s Administration building in St. Charles.
The EOC is strategically located adjacent to the St. Charles County Police Department, located at 101 Sheriff Dierker Court in O’Fallon. Landmark Contract Management was hired as the owner’s representative for the County; Brinkmann Constructors, in partnership with Architects Design Group, was the design-builder.
The public is invited to tour the EOC during the St. Charles County Police Department’s Open House from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 22. Along with behind-the-scenes department tours, guests are invited to participate in technology demonstrations and safety presentations, as well as see K9s, a SCCPD vehicle and equipment gallery, and mascot special guests. The event also will feature giveaways, a St. Charles City-County Pop-Up Library, and a Kona Ice benefit for The Backstoppers. For updates, visit the department’s Facebook and Twitter pages at facebook.com/StCharlesCountyPD or twitter.com/sccmopd.
INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT THE NEW EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER
AND EMERGENCY SERVICES IN ST. CHARLES COUNTY
• 30,000 square feet
• Cost is $24 million – more than $500,000 under budget
• Building can withstand an EF-4 intensity tornado
• Building can remain fully operational without electricity, water or sewer for three days
• 33 cameras monitor the building and site
• County Emergency Management has an average of 21 yearly activations, 18 yearly Mobile Command Post deployments and had 14 disasters and emergencies from 2000-2016
• Emergency Communications answers 150+ 911 calls per day and supports 190+ police-related incidents and 140+ fire/EMS-related incidents per day
• The county-wide emergency radio communication system handles 10,000 radio transmissions per day