How to plan and manage a disaster control centre

Disaster Management: How to Manage Information in an Emergency Control Centre

Why managing disaster information in the emergency control centre (ECC) is so important !

Information management during a disaster

Disaster Control Centres

Arguably the most important job in disaster management is the management of information.  Unless disaster information is managed properly, tasks won’t be done, resources won’t be available, people will be put at more risk than necessary and disaster managers won’t have the information they need to make timely, effective decisions.  Initially all information must be passed through the ECCs which operate at different levels.

Types of information in the ECC

Information can be received and passed in various formats:


  • Telephone
  • Radio
  • Verbal reports/briefings


  • Emails
  • Reports
  • Log books
  • Registers
  • Plans
  • Action forms
  • Operational records

Other information

  • Photographs
  • Videos
  • Maps
  • Drones

Sources of information in the ECC

There are two sources of information in the ECCs:

Information generated within the ECC

  • Reports
  • Briefing documents
  • Operational logs
  • Operational Registers
  • Action forms
  • Meeting minutes
  • Plans

Information originating outside the ECC

  • Reports
    • Verbal
    • Written
  • Requests for assistance/resources
    • Plans
    • Photographs
    • Verbal reports
    • Telephone
    • Radio

Recording information in the ECC

Specific roles must be established to:

  • Record all operational information coming into the ECC
  • Record all messages leaving the ECC
  • Record all requests for assistance and resources
  • Back up all computer records relative to the ECC operations daily
  • Safeguard all information relating to ECC operations
  • Ensure that information is passed to the right personnel as soon as possible
  • Prepare action forms for activities which have to be conducted
  • Follow up on actions which have been delegated
  • Collate all information coming into the ECC and analyse it for further action/planning
  • Maintain operational logs within the ECC
  • Maintain registers within the ECC

Resources have to be maintained based on the tasks identified from the information received into the ECC.

Access control

Classified documents

Releasing information from the ECC

Classify information in accordance with arranged protocols such as:

  • Unrestricted
  • Restricted
  • Confidential
  • Secret
  • Top Secret

Establish procedures for the passing of information from the ECC:

  • To other commanders
  • To other levels of ECC
  • To individual function commanders
  • To the media

To read more on this and other topics relating to emergency control centres, grab my book on Amazon which is a complete guide to setting up and running an emergency control centre.


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About The Author

Ian Watts

61 years old. Lived in several countries around the world and visited many more. Two grandchildren I adore. I've been a professional investigator and a trainer. Love going on cruises. Semi-professional photographer.

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