The San Diego/Imperial Counties chapter of the American Red Cross is part of the largest and most diverse service organization in the United States. We serve more than 3.6 million people and cover nearly 10,000 square miles in the two counties.
We provide food and shelter in emergencies, assist members of our armed forces and their families, teach lifesaving skills, and more. All American Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people.
The vision of the American Red Cross San Diego/Imperial Counties Chapter is to be the most trusted community service organization in education, preparation and response to natural disasters and human emergencies.
- Responds to a local emergency nearly every 24 hours
- Is supported by more than 1,000 active volunteers
- Provides services across 10,000 square miles in two counties
- Participates in a national network of nearly 600 local chapters
The San Diego/Imperial Counties Chapter Disaster Operations Center is a new state-of-the-art communications center where Red Cross leaders coordinate all disaster-response activities, including opening shelters, delivering food to disaster victims and first responders, assigning trained disaster volunteers to shelters and providing other critical Red Cross services to disaster-hit areas.
Technology & Capabilities
Launched in Feb. 2012, the new disaster operations center is a state-of-the-art room within the chapter’s building with PCs and tablets that utilize the SitCell software, large screen displays that present the SitCell information, advanced teleconferencing, voice-over-IP (VOIP) telephones, radio room and high-speed internet with satellite backup.
This technology enables senior Red Cross decision makers and information analysts to seamlessly communicate and collaborate on decisions for collaborative real-time incident planning, service delivery and threat assessment.
During large-scale disasters, these same capabilities are seamlessly extended among the geographically dispersed disaster operations centers, including government and private sector organizations.
The operations center is also utilized by instructors and volunteers to provide additional training for advanced disaster simulations and training exercises. Because of its virtual workspace, the center’s training resources are shareable and will allow multi-level and multi-partner exercises to be conducted in a cost-effective environment, using the same capabilities required for a disaster operation.
Bringing This Room to Life
In a region like Southern California with a high propensity for no notice events (earthquakes, wildfires in particular) it was determined that the region was in need of a disaster operations center that significantly improved our response time management capabilities.
Generous gifts from the American public made it possible for this operations center to be built and provided Red Cross leaders and first response agencies the necessary space to coordinate disaster response activities in an efficient a timely manner. Local large-scale disasters like the 2003 and 2007 wildfires are perfect examples of what this center will support.
Funding for the Disaster Operations Center was two-fold – unrestricted gifts collected over time covered the cost of building the room and a portion of the Recovery Planning & Assistance fund, as well as other grants designated for community preparedness, covered the cost of the workstations and technology within the room. In total, approximately $700,000 was used to complete this Chapter Disaster Operations Center.