Inside look at new Emergency Operation Center in Indio

Riverside County has a new Emergency Operations Center

INDIO, Calif. - Riverside County is working behind the scenes to protect Coachella Valley residents in the event a major disaster, like the wildfires in San Diego, happens here. 

The county has built a state-of-the-art Emergency Operations Center in Indio to coordinate the response during a major emergency, whether it's a fire or that big earthquake we all know is coming.

News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 were the first news stations to get inside the multi-million dollar the new facility.

Last year the mountains that overlook our Valley caught fire. 

"We knew immediately that this is going to be a large scale incident that would require a lot of response," said Emergency Services Coordinator Jerry Hagen.

The Silver fire would go on to burn 20,000 acres including 26 homes, but it could have been much worse.

"Having the proper resources at the right time, always helps," said Hagen.

There are resources that need to be told what to do, where, and when.  It's that type of coordination that will now take place  at the new Emergency Operations Center.   

"Since this center will be the largest and best equipped and most technically advanced, even a major incident that would happen some place else this could be the command center," said Riverside County Supervisor John Benoit. 

One of the newest additions is a stand alone tower. It houses all of the equipment need to allow emergency communications even event of a disaster. 

"It's hard to believe you can spend a million dollars on a radio tower, but its critically important that it be tall enough and stout enough to be standing and still properly aligned after an earthquake," said Benoit.

It's that big earthquake expected anytime that this facility is designed for. 

"We do know that major resources are going to go to the populations centers, Orange County, Los Angels, Riverside, San Diego.  We know we are going to be on our own in the Coachella Valley. Having our Emergency Operations Center out here allows us to coordinate our own response and be self sufficient until more help arrives," said Hagen. 

"We are contracting in advance for people to provide mass meals or build a path around a down bridge on the freeway and we have to coordinate the response of all of those people and equipment from a central location. Who do we have? What do we need? How do we get it there?," said Benoit.

The $11 million in upgrades means this facility can run all on it's own for up to 15 days, it even has beds for those who may need to work around the clock.

"Bringing it all together in one location with the technology of the not only radios, but it and all of the data communications that are now critical to communicate and get resources moving bringing it all together in one location is the goal," said Benoit.

The Emergency Operations Center is operational right now, though more equipment will be installed in the coming months.

On Monday, the public will get a chance to see this facility in person at the official grand opening at 11 a.m. 

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