UPGRADED EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER OPENS IN LAS CRUCES

UPGRADED EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER OPENS IN LAS CRUCES

The Doña Ana County Emergency Operations Center – a jointly funded office by Doña Ana County, the State of New Mexico and the City of Las Cruces – has moved into new headquarters in the Doña Ana County Public Health Building at 1170 N. Solano in Las Cruces.
The need for an adequately equipped EOC was identified through various large-scale exercises in Doña Ana County designed to measure the scope of a potential emergency and the resources needed for a successful response. Conrad Estrada, director of the Office of Emergency Management, said planning for the new offices began in 1995 in conjunction with the city and county administrative staff.
The new office space, he said, includes a full back up 911 responsiveness and State Police dispatch. In addition, a HAM radio operator station is in the process of being completed in the office’s new Communications Room.
The facility’s communications readiness also is enhanced, Estrada said, by microwave communication and data capabilities, as well as by two fiber-optic lines (one for voice and one for data), a T-1 line and a copper phone line. The facility also has the capability to back up the county’s servers and printers.
The office – which has its own entrance and exit – sports autonomous heating, cooling, water and security systems from the rest of the Public Health Building, as well as its own back-up generator.
In the event of an emergency activation, the EOC is equipped with 12 functional areas, including a plan-review room, two conference rooms, cable TV for use with the Emergency Alert System, GIS capabilities for the city and county, a donated internet service provider separate from the county internet, and three separate fax lines.
Under non-emergency status, the EOC will be used for training and simulations related to emergency management. Estrada estimated the facility to be about 98 percent complete, lacking only a few further equipment purchases. The total cost for the center to date, he said, has been about $340,000.
“We’d like to thank Don Armstrong for all his endeavors during our planning process to assure that we had an adequate EOC facility for a jurisdiction this size,” Estrada said. “I also want to thank Max Johnson for assisting us with coordinating our major training and simulation initiatives to date.”
For more information, call county Public Information Officer Jess Williams at (505) 647-7229. Residents calling from outside the Las Cruces area may call toll-free at 1-877-827-7200 and request extension 7229.