The Regional Emergency Operations Center (REOC) is designed to facilitate Unified Command and provide a working environment for the General Staff.
Unified Command (UC)
Unified Command (UC) is an important element in multi-jurisdictional or multi-agency domestic incident management. It provides guidelines to enable agencies with different legal, geographic, and functional responsibilities to coordinate, plan, and interact effectively. As a team, the Unified Command overcomes much of the inefficiency and duplication of effort that can occur when agencies from different functional and geographic jurisdictions, or agencies at different levels of government, operate without a common system or organizational framework. In a UC structure, the individuals designated by their jurisdictional authorities jointly determine objectives, plans, and priorities and work together to execute them.
The General Staff includes incident management personnel who represent the major functional elements of the ICS, including the Operations Section Chief, Planning Section Chief, Logistics Section Chief, and Finance/Administration Section Chief. The General Staff must continually interact and share vital information and estimates of the current and future situation and develop recommended courses of action for consideration by the Incident Commander.
How it Works
The actual lead agency in a Regional crisis depends upon the situation, and may change during different phases of the crisis. For example, let's consider a ficticious massive fire of unknown origin in Sparks:
The Sparks Fire Department would be the lead agency and all other regional assets would support them.
Once the fire is contained and it is discovered to be a criminal act, then the Sparks Police Department would take the lead to investigate the crime scene.
If fumes from the Fire made a large group of residents sick, then the lead could pass to the County Health District.
Then, perhaps the lead would pass to the Sparks Public Works Department to coordinate restoration of public utilities in the area.
If the massive fire totally overwhelmed the jurisdiction of Sparks, or if it was a long-term event (as in the example above), then the REOC would be activated. The Unified Command at the REOC would then be supporting the lead agency Incident Commander with resources and strategic guidance until the response and recovery phase was complete.