Behind the scenes of an emergency in Cuyahoga County

Inside the Cuyahoga county EOC (Source: WOIO)
Inside the Cuyahoga county EOC (Source: WOIO)
Agency reps wear these vests to identify their agency during emergencies. (Source: WOIO)
Agency reps wear these vests to identify their agency during emergencies. (Source: WOIO)

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - In an emergency in Cuyahoga County with the potential to spread beyond municipal boundaries, the county Emergency Operations Center connects experts and resources from local, state and federal agencies.

In a recent emergency, a fire at a dump in East Cleveland, the EOC knew that the city of Orange Village had a drone that could take infrared pictures and video that would allow first responders to identify hot spots.

This is one thing the EOC does, unite resources with agencies that need them during an emergency.

To the naked eye, the fire looked like a four-story-tall pile of debris, the fire was all happening below the surface.

"Without this [drone] it would have taken, and I can't give you a timetable, but maybe extra weeks just due to not knowing exactly where the hot spots were, 'cause it was all underground everything was channeling underneath," said Bryan Kloss, the manager of the EOC. "We would have had to do debris removal operations, so instead of just concentrating on one area, we'd have to go through a very large area, use excavators and large equipment to move the debris unearth and discover where the hot spots are."

The EOC activates whenever there's an emergency, or even a large planned event, in a city in Cuyahoga County that it is likely to spread to other municipalities.

For example, potentially toxic smoke and fume was a big concern in the East Cleveland dump fire, so tracking the weather was a big concern. The priorities change depending on what the emergency is – for the Republican National Convention, for example, the federal partners might have a larger role.

Despite the technology in the room, Cleveland 19 was told that the biggest asset remains constant.

"Really the main part that really works is having all the people that are able to make the decisions and do the coordination together in this room," The Cuyahoga County Director of Public Safety Justice Services Brandy Carney said.  "It's critical that we have these available so we can coordinate and do that for our citizens."

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