By Southwester Staff
A new DC Emergency Operations Center was inaugurated in Navy Yard in early 2023, with more space for responding to large-scale emergencies and collaboration across federal and local agencies.
The center’s opening was attended by DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and officials from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the DC Homeland Security Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA).
“We know DC is unique – we operate as a city, county, and state, we’re the nation’s capital, we share a border with two states, and we host and support First Amendment activities every day,” Bowser said in a press release. “We are proud of those responsibilities, and the new Emergency Operations Center provides more space for the in-person coordination that is required to protect DC.”
The 42,000 square foot facility includes a Situation Room with 130 seats for handling emergency operations and an adjoining room with 40 seats for the Joint Information Center (JIC). The JIC allows agencies throughout the District to come together during an activation of an emergency or planned special event to coordinate and adjudicate situations as they happen.
The DC Emergency Operations Center will also include a new space for the Protect DC initiative, a prevention program that utilizes a multidisciplinary model of bringing together partners from behavioral health, human services, law enforcement, and other disciplines to assess an individual’s risk of violence or serious harm, share information, and coordinate resources and services.
In 2022, HSEMA was awarded $637,500 in grant funding from DHS to develop and enhance the District’s threat assessment and management capabilities and to establish Protect DC. This funding is part of DHS’ Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention Grant Program which provides communities with funding and support to create innovative solutions for preventing targeted violence and terrorism. In total, the District has received more than $1 million from DHS through this program.