The Multiagency Coordination System (MACS) and Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs)

The primary function of the Multiagency Coordination System (MACS) is to coordinate activities above the field level (or incident level).  In doing this, common functions of the MACS include:

  • Situation Assessment
  • Incident Priority Determination
  • Critical Resource Acquisition and Allocation
  • Policy Support
  • Coordination with other MACS Elements
  • Coordination with Elected, Appointed, and Senior Officials
  • Information Management and Common Operating Picture Maintenance

The two most commonly used elements of MACS are Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs) and Multiagency Coordination (MAC) Groups.  EOCs are the entity from which the coordination of information and resources to support incident management at the Incident Command Post (on-scene or field level activities) occurs.  MAC Groups are policy setting entities typically comprised of agency administrators/executives, or their designees.  Under the National Incident Management System (NIMS), neither an EOC nor a MAC Group has any direct incident command involvement and they will often be located some distance from the incident scene.

Contrary to popular belief, there is no requirement for EOCs to implement and organize around ICS.  EOCs may be organized by:

  • Major discipline (e.g., fire, law enforcement, or emergency medical services);
  • Emergency support function (e.g., transportation, communications, public works and engineering, or resource support);
  • Jurisdiction (e.g., city, county, or region); or,
  • More likely, by some combination thereof.

Regardless, an EOC should be organized to facilitate effective incident coordination and support in accordance with applicable laws, policies, ordinances, statutes, etc., that govern incident management and coordination in the jurisdiction the EOC serves.  It is this non-standard approach that makes it difficult to develop standard EOC training.  For this reason, EMSI’s seasoned cadre stands ready to help tailor EOC training to the unique needs and organization of your specific EOC. Our experience has found that this training is best conducted in a facilitated workshop format.

Look to the right for an offering of MACS training but we recommend contacting us to talk about your EOC training needs.