On any ordinary day, the ringing of telephones can be heard throughout the office of the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security-run Installation Operation Center.
“We pretty much have our hands in everything,” said Stacy Picciano, an operations specialist at the IOC. “We receive calls that range from people asking for directions to the commissary, how to get in touch with someone, where an event is taking place or to an actual emergency.
“We strive to make sure that Fort Huachuca is a well-oiled machine, support is provided in a professional and timely manner and our customers receive a quality product, whatever it is,” She added.
Picciano explained some of their daily activities include: handling requests from both on and off the installation; monitoring special events on Fort; aiding with the retirement ceremonies; 4th of July; Veterans Day parades; Memorial Day ceremony; providing support to partner units, Soldier events and more.
During an emergency the IOC becomes the Emergency Operation Center, and the staff adjusts fire.
“Emergencies are just that. They’re emergencies, and you’ve got to take action, whatever they require,” Picciano said. “I think it’s necessary … every installation should have a 24-hour [operating system] where people can call if something happens and talk to an actual person to take their information and handle the situation, whatever it may be.
“Our main focus is to protect life, limb and property,” Picciano said.
Decisions need to be made so that the questions ‘What happened?’ ‘How do we tackle it?’ and ‘What do we need to do to get back to normal duty, operating procedures?’ can be answered,” Picciano added.
With the overall goal of protecting “life, limb and property,” the force protection exercise that ended yesterday will help the IOC do just that.
“This [was] the first exercise [in which] we actually changed locations,” said Tamela Faulkner, temporary operations officer. “So [we initiated] here … and [we had] to jump to another location and continue the emergency operations support.”
“In times of emergency we activate the EOC, so it is a different capacity as far as how we respond to operations for us,” Faulkner added. “We operate in an emergency capacity.
“When we receive notification of an event that constitutes an emergency, the first thing that we do is activate the Crisis Action Team,” Faulkner added.
CAT consists of roughly 12 organizations including Directorate of Logistics, Directorate of Public Works, Directorate of Human Resources, Public Affairs Office and Directorate of Emergency Services and others.
“All of these organizations on the installation [can] offer support during the emergency,” Faulkner added. “Each individual agency has a role as part of the team.”
“[This exercise took] place over a 30-hour period [so] it [was] definitely more in-depth than it has been in the past,” Faulkner added.
With an exercise like this, “you of course want to react in a natural state, or as natural as possible so that you effectively know that you can respond to an emergency,” Faulkner added.
“You have to have a plan in order to go forward [and we were] prepared,” she said.