The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is known to play a very key role, especially when it comes to managing and coordinating each and every phase of any emergency situation. 

With such a high-level of expertise in which the EOC carry out their functions, one questions is obviously running through your mind, and if I am to guess, you’d be wondering and even asking the question, ‘EOCs receive senior level guidance from?’ Interestingly, whenever this question comes up, it is mostly followed with options such as:

  • Joint Information Center
  • MAC groups
  • Joint Information System (JIS)
  • Incident Command System

Just before you are caught up in the web of your curiosity, all of these and more about the EOC is what this blog post will explain in simple terms. Read on to learn more.

EOCs Receive Senior-Level Guidance From?

The correct answer to this question is MAC groups. Knowing the crucial role of the emergency operation centers (EOC), MAC groups need to provide senior level guidance. 

What do MAC Groups Mean?

The full meaning of MAC Groups is multiagency Coordination Groups. They are also known as policy groups. The multiagency coordination groups are among the off-site incident management aspect of the National Incident Management System. (NIMS).

What are the Compositions of MAC groups?

MAC group consists of the local, regional, and national management groups for multiagency scheduling, organization, and operational management of incidents. They provide core management machinery for the strategic organization to manage incidents effectively at a low cost. 

In the MAC group, you are likely to see the following stakeholders:

  • Agency Administrators
  • Executives or designate from the organization impacted by the incident 
  • Non-governmental representatives like a volunteer organization 
  • Business Organizations

What are the Functions of MAC Groups?

In the course of incidents, MAC Groups carry out the following functions:

  • Take decisions on behalf of the cooperative multi-agency.
  • Work as a policy-level group. This is why the MAC group is also known as the policy group.
  •  Ensure proper resource allocation and prioritization 
  • Facilitate decision-making among the appointed and elected officials as well as the incident commander in charge of incident management. 

Decision–Making by MAC Group

When we talk about MAC Group acting as a decision body for decision-making for multi-agencies, you should know the following:

  • They consist of organizations’ representatives with decision-making and policy authority of the agency. It is not for anybody.
  • They provide direction to the policy. The direction is beyond EOP
  • They resolve crucial issues that may affect different agencies
  • They convene and take decisions when it is only necessary

Operational Support by EOC

In contrast, Emergency Operations Center is in charge of operational support in the NIMC. EOC is a crucial authority and control facility responsible for conducting accident surveillance and guaranteeing the purpose of continued operation.

While some units in NIMS are working directly to fulfill the aims and goals of an establishment, some units are saddled to work behind the scene to ensure a hitch-free operation void of disasters. EOC happens to be one of the units. 

Things to know about EOC.

  • EOC implements the policy of EOP and decisions of MAC Group
  • Comprises of organization representatives that have operational authority
  • They ensure the provision of resource support
  • They collect and return incident information 
  • They also provide other coordination and support that enable smooth operation

What functions are not part of MAC Group?

It is essential to know that MAC Group does not carry out incident command duties. They do not take the primary duties of EOCs or other coordination organizations, operations organizations, or dispatch agencies. 

What are the Common Applications of MAC Group?

Some of the applications of the MAC Group are:

  • A Single Jurisdiction 

Sometimes, a single jurisdiction may set up MAC Group as an aspect of its EOC duties. Here, they must state clearly the role and the agencies it can impact. 

  • Organized Functionally

For an instance, law administration agencies can set up MAC groups to help in coordinating the response to terrorist activities or civil unrest. 

  • Organized Nationally 

Here, MAC Group can be set up for a particular purpose nationally. For instance, during wildfire outbreak season, Some of the MAC groups that function at this level are Federal wildland fire agencies at the local, State, and Federal levels. 

The Joint Information Center

The Joint Information Center (JIC) is the place that accommodates Joint Information System (JIS) operations. Here, there is a coordinated and accurate flow of incident information among the MAC groups, ECOs, and ICS.

Due to the appropriate flow and coordination of information in this network, there is a successful service. Thus, the role of JIC is to maintain proper information flow and coordination within the network. They are the primary point of contact for news media for public consumption. 

Sometimes, an incident-specific JIC can be established based on the nature of the incident like the incident at the location. It can be in collaboration with Federal agencies or state or local agencies based on the situation.

Types of Joint Incident Center (JIC)

Primarily, we have five (5) types of JIC. They are:

  • Incident JIC
  • Virtual JIC
  • Satellite JIC
  • Area JIC
  • National JIC

1. Incident JIC

The incident JIC has the following features:

  • Has easy access to all news media
  • Can be located at an Emergency operational center
  • Has a physical location in the locality for local and unified command, incident commander, or EOC director.

2. Virtual JIC

The virtual joint incident center has the following features:

  • Uses technology as well as communication protocols
  • Set-up when the incident JIC is not achievable 

3. Satellite JIC

The satellite joint incident center has the following features:

  • The satellite JIC functions under the control of the primary JIC
  • In terms of scale, it is smaller than other JICs
  • The purpose of the satellite JIC is to support other major JICs

4. Area JIC

The area joint incident center has the following features:

  • The area JIC provides support to wide area incident JICs
  • There is easy access to media (very important)
  • The area JIC can be set up to cover a state or a region

5. National JIC

The national joint incident center has the following features:

  • The purpose of establishing the national JIC is to support the Federal incident management
  • There is easy access to the media
  • The set-up is for long-duration purpose
  • Numerous staff from Federal departments or/and agencies

Wrap–up on EOCs Receive Senior Level Guidance From?

The MAC groups provide EOCs with senior level guidance. They take decisions and form policies on behalf of the multi-agency. This facilitates decision-making among the elected and appointed commanders in charge of incident management. 

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