Local Red Cross Unveils New State-Of-The-Art Disaster Operations Center

SAN DIEGO, Feb. 2, 2012 —Today, the American Red Cross San Diego/Imperial Counties Chapter is unveiling a new state-of-the-art Chapter Disaster Operations Center in an effort to enhance our community’s disaster response capabilities.

The new Disaster Operations Center will use cutting-edge technology to 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.

“This operations center is an investment in our community,” said Joe W. Craver, CEO of the San Diego/Imperial Counties Chapter of the American Red Cross. “Our chapter is so very fortunate to have the proper facility and equipment to ensure a more accurate and faster response should we ever find ourselves in local large-scale disasters such as the 2003 and 2007 wildfires.”

The Red Cross will work with other disaster response and partner agencies within the operations center to integrate information needs via visual mapping software that creates a common operating picture, showing all important details in real time. Essential details include disaster locations, corresponding shelters, volunteers, road closures, etc.

Generous gifts from the American public have made it possible for this operations center to be built and provided Red Cross leaders and partnering first response agencies the infrastructure necessary for enhanced disaster response collaboration and coordination.

“As a region, we’ve learned through experience about the vital importance of being prepared for a disaster,” said San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders. “The Red Cross is an invaluable asset to this city and their new disaster operations center will pay dividends for all San Diegans.”

The operations center will also be 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.

“It’s important for the Red Cross and other disaster response agencies to modernize response efforts to reflect today’s technology,” said Craver. “The capabilities of the state-of-the-art center and redesigned online resources are huge steps in that direction and towards making San Diego America’s most prepared community.”

Launched alongside the unveiling of the new Disaster Operations Center, the American Red Cross San Diego/Imperial Counties Chapter launched two newly redesigned preparedness sites, www.PrepareSanDiego.org and www.PrepareImperialValley.org. The updated preparedness web resources educate individuals and families about how they can prepare for, adapt and recover from disasters that affect or could potentially affect our region. A recent American Red Cross survey showed that web sites are the most popular way for San Diegans to gather emergency preparedness information.

About the American Red Cross, San Diego/Imperial Counties Chapter

The American Red Cross is not a government agency and relies on the generosity of the American people to provide our programs and services. The San Diego/Imperial Counties Chapter is the most trusted community service organization in education, preparation and response to natural disasters and human emergencies. With the public’s ongoing support we provide lifesaving preparedness training; disaster relief services; 24-hour emergency services to deployed military personnel and their families; and nutritional counseling through our Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program. For more information about or to support the chapter please contact (858) 309-1200 or visit www.sdarc.org. Please also connect with us on Facebook and YouTube and Twitter.