During emergencies, the 1st 24 to 48 hours are the most critical. Being proactive during these critical hours can save lives and property. When emergencies occur that exceed the ability of local government to respond and additional resources are required from state or federal government, the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is activated. The EOC is the city's central command post during major emergencies. It is located in the Municipal Building at 215 Church Avenue in downtown Roanoke. An alternate EOC is located in the Public Works Center on Courtland Avenue. EOC staff consists of designated representatives from key departments and agencies with responsibilities during emergencies. The EOC may be partially or fully activated depending upon the nature and extent of the emergency.
Fire, medical, law enforcement, human services, damage assessment, resource management, transportation, utilities and public information are just some of the services which are coordinated through this center. A rapid assessment is conducted to determine resources needed to respond appropriately to the incident. Damage assessments and requests for deployment of resources are sent to the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.
A bank of telephones is established to answer citizen inquiries and provide information on various issues related to the emergency. The telephone number designated for this purpose is 540-853-2550; however, this number is only operational during emergencies as designated by the Coordinator of Emergency Services.