Setting up an EOC for your Prepper group!

Setting up an EOC (Emergency Operations Center) for your Prepper group should be at the top of your group activities. When SHTF hits, you are going to need a centralized base of operations for disseminating information to your members. This could be everything from weather information to road closures and possibly even troop movements. Waiting until SHTF hits and then scrambling to figure out just how to set one up, is a recipe for disaster and one that can be avoided by good planning now. This is the topic for today’s post.

Your first question may be “What exactly is an EOC and why does my Prepper group need one?” The answer to those two questions is really very simple. An EOC is a centralized source for information that is gathered from many sources and compiled for your group’s members. The reason for the Emergency would dictate the type of information that would be needed by your members. If it was weather related for example, they might need information on road closures and flooded areas, as well as storm updates. If it is caused by an attack on the US of some type, then you may need to update your group, on where the troops are and the best routes to avoid them. A chemical attack, would necessitate the need for information on wind speed and direction. I think you get the point as to why your group needs to have one and just how important it could be when the time comes.

Now let’s take a look at choosing the best location for your EOC. If your group has a clubhouse or a particular home where you regularly meet, then that may be the best place to create it. This is only if the location will not need to be evacuated for flooding or is not situated anyplace that could place the occupants in a dangerous situation. The best place in my mind to locate one would be in the home of someone who intends to bug in for a SHTF situation. Someplace with both wired and wireless phones, as well as Cable TV and internet access.   In other words it needs to have as many forms of gathering and sending information as possible. It should have backup electrical systems, in case the power goes out as well as several maps of the area for locating alternate routes. Where you locate it is up to you, but I recommend that it should be someplace that is manned at all times if possible, like maybe the home of a retired member of your group for instance.

The next question after you have decided where you will put your EOC, is to decide what to keep in it. For this I have several recommendations. Besides the obvious such as Phones, TVs and maps, there are a few other items you should add such as a good HF Ham radio for receiving and sending information over large areas of the country. No, you don’t need a large tower to be able to talk for long distances, as a simple wire antenna strung up in a tree close by will do just fine in most cases. You may want to add a VHF radio, for communicating with your group locally in the event cell phone coverage is out. Another item is a good computer connected to the internet with multiple monitors for monitoring several things at once. You will want to identify several key road intersections that have traffic cams and bookmark them, should you need to access them in hurry. You will also want to bookmark several trusted news stations, both local and national as well. When a disaster strikes and you need the information in a hurry, you will be glad you took the time to do it in advance. I would also bookmark other sites, such as local weather radar and the national weather service for example. Maybe a site with information on surviving a nuclear blast or a chemical attack would be handy to have too. Anything you could possibly need to know in a hurry.

OK, so now you have your EOC setup, how do you use it in and emergency should be your next question. This is a really hard one because it depends on exactly what the Emergency is. In this case, we should just look at it from a high level that might apply to as many situations as possible. First off, the overarching goal here is to gather and provide your members with as much information on the ongoing emergency as possible in a useable format. This means that if it is weather related then you may need to provide weather information first. Always place the most important information at the beginning of your update just in case you lose contact with them before you can provide all of the information you intend to. In any given emergency, the most important information will be that which will allow the members of your group to safely reach their retreat or to provide safety information to those who are bugging in. The power of this type of information should never be underestimated and as I said before, should be the highest priority for your group. Even if your group is only planning to meet at a stop somewhere before going their separate ways, getting them their safely is the first key to survival!

Discussing this in detail well in advanced of an emergency and taking the time to plan out and setup and Group EOC is well worth the effort. Until such time as an emergency occurs, all we can really do is prepare, plan, and practice for every possible scenario we can think of.   Plan ahead and plan to survive!

Well, that’s about it for today’s post and I hope you have enjoyed it. I hope I have given you something to think about and maybe even a few new ideas for getting ready for SHTF. Until next time, just remember that prepping is a direction of travel and not a destination! Keep on prepping folks!

-The Sargent-

The Sgt.

Prepper, Patriot, and Proud U.S. ARMY Veteran.

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10 Responses

  1. Bryan says:

    I can lend some insight from working in data centers, aka a “NOC”.

    A computer is nice for organization and visualization while the power is on and the Internet is still working, but be sure it’s a laptop, or several of them. They will run on battery, plus you can buy several UPS to keep all of the electronics/radios running long enough to switch to generator. The EOC should absolutely have a generator. Label devices according to how vital they are, so you can power down less important ones in stages as the fuel runs low. There should also be a 4G router to act as an Internet backup, perhaps even satellite service. Don’t depend on wifi, so have everything hard-cabled which can be. If your PC doubles as your TV, also have another independent TV. It’s good to have multiple-purpose devices, but not if there are no backups for each function.

    Keep in mind that EMP could wipe out all of your electronics, so avoid being dependent on them. Keep shielded back-up equipment to set up a new EOC when it’s safe to do so again. It’s even good to have a back up EOC site with it’s own set of equipment and backups.

    You’ll want back-up lighting, battery-powered lanterns, chemical glow sticks, even candles and kerosene lamps. There are crank-powered radios and lights too. A back-up heater is also a good idea. Build the EOC in a dry, flood-free basement, so it tends to keep cool by itself in the summer. Try to use up the renewable energy devices first, before falling back to the single-use ones.

    You need written contingency plans for operating without computers, without power and other situations. When the nukes are flying, you don’t have time to browse websites about building shelters and taking iodine. Your information should already be physically there on-site, and you should have these printed out and organized in binders for instant access. Other members of the group should have copies, too. Everyone should have contact info, procedures, chain of command, and meeting places printed out, and carry them with them at all times. Copies for all of the vehicles. And copies on thumb drive. Revisions can easily be sent out via email.

    Provide a base station for FRS/MRS radios and a CB in addition to that ham and VHF radio. While the internet is up, you may be able to monitor local police/fire/ems/other radio via http://broadcastify.com/. If you have your own scanners, you could even contribute these stations to the Internet. A weather alert radio is a good idea.

    The EOC should be a single point of contact for the group even in normal times. This keeps the EOC staff in practice, and gets folks used to actually listening to the EOC and doing what they say. Get the group in the habit of calling the EOC to report any llittle thing they see and hear.

    Having a pair working together is a good idea, and they can discuss what signs they are seeing, and what they may need to do in response. This keeps each other alert, and catches situations the other might overlook. The EOC should continuously absorb the information coming in to them, and rehearse what they’ll do next if things go sour. Keep their minds busy thinking about how they can use the info they see, to help the group in real-time. Every trivial event should be journaled, preferably on paper first. You could also put your team to work monitoring security cameras at the group member’s homes and bug-out locations.

  2. Three Bees says:

    a good point to ponder as well is when does an EOC become an intelligence gathering operation? Or do they act as both? I worked for a county skywarn EOC and while most of our information gathering was storm related, we had liaised with 911 to disseminate first responder intel to our storm spotters.

    • The Sargent says:

      I would think that you would want to activate it as soon as the emergency became eminent and begin gathering intelligence for dissemination to your group. 🙂

  3. Marci says:

    Thanks for all this information. I am under the feeling that there will be no electric and we go back to the 1800’s type of living. Local maps I can get at the Chamber of Commerce. I’ve googled (satelite) above my home and looked at what is around me; backroads to the forest, woods behind me, etc. Need a Road atlas if no electric. One neighbor I know is a prepper; I’m very new at this and live paycheck to paycheck. I’m thinking walkie talkies are inexpensive. I’m not one who wants to go to a survival center with hundreds of others, (just watched anniversary of Katrina problems on tv). Is there a specific way to know in advance if officers or armed forces will be coming to an area door to door to force people from their homes, without tv news? I also think I need to research more of Martial Law?

    • The Sargent says:

      Marci, It sounds to me like you are on the right path. As for communications, Baofeng makes a great little hand held radio called the UV-5R that covers both VHF and UHF frequencies. It usually cost less than about $30. It is a HAM radio and because it covers the 2 meter radio band, You would be able to listen to the local Radio Operators talk. Many of them like yourself are Preppers as well. You could pretty much bet that if the police were out confiscating guns, then they would have the latest update on it. Now if you are concerned about an EMP, then you can store the radio in a Mylar bag and place it in a metal container for storage. While there is no guarantee that it will completely protect it, it would be your best bet for doing it inexpensively. Hope this helps and welcome to the Prepper world! 🙂

      • Marci says:

        Thanks. I do need to find something metal to store things in. I thought wrap electronics in foil and place in a metal trash can.

        • The Sargent says:

          Mylar bags that can be purchased for very little on Amazon.com I think are better than wrapping them in foil. I would then put them in a metal trashcan and seal it with metal tape for best results.

          -The Sargent-

  4. BYP-US says:

    Great article! Commo & Intel, and a Faraday Cage the basics is all you need.

  5. WW says:

    Great article. I was thinking of setting an eoc up in a panel truck so it can go mobile.