Minneapolis Emergency Operations Center

Mission: Communicate With Multiple Agencies

The City of Minneapolis’ initiative for an advanced Emergency Operations Center (EOC) started to grow in urgency after the September 11 tragedies and quickly gained momentum with the local bridge collapse in 2008. Located just outside Minneapolis, Minn., the Emergency Operations Training Facility (EOTF) helps meet the training and response needs of the Minneapolis Fire Department, the Minneapolis Police Department, and the City’s Emergency Management Division, along with other regional partners.

The primary challenge was to create something that was state-of-the-art yet easy to operate, as it likely won’t be activated often.

“The EOC required systems in which every component is capable of robust, reliable, operation 24 hours per day, 7 days per week,” says Gerry Pehl, AVI-SPL design engineer. “Even the slightest compromised performance in any of the center’s systems can quickly result in tragic consequences.”

Action: Deliver Facility-Wide Audio and Video

As part of the Strategic Information Center (SIC), the Work Room houses two computer-based workstations, including a 24/7 supervisor station and training system. Both deliver facility-wide audio and video feeds. A SMART Symposium provides annotation capabilities.

The Analyst Room houses 12 computed-based, 24/7 workstations, with facility-wide signal routing. Centrally located is the video wall projection system, built from three side-by-side high contrast, high brightness displays and projectors. These high-resolution displays provide quick monitoring access to locations around the city.

Training rooms were equipped with Cisco video conferencing capabilities. Crestron DigitalMedia manages and controls data and communication signals.

Impact: Improved Emergency Preparedness

With the technology integrated by AVI-SPL, the City of Minneapolis is better prepared for emergencies. Two fire training classrooms can operate independently, or even be combined to form the Command Center when the critical EOC is being managed. With the moveable wall retracted, a central U-shaped conferencing table is available for leadership personnel.

Developing a close relationship with AVI-SPL helped the city succeed in their goal of “digitizing the city.”

“In working with AVI-SPL, they have helped us to greatly expand our knowledge and what we can do with video technology,” says Senior Applications Analyst Bradford Brown.

“The advantage of using video whenever we can means that we can get information to people a lot faster,” says Minneapolis’ Deputy Chief of Police Robert Allen.