More than technology: Experiences of Virtual Emergency Operations Centers (VEOCs) during the COVID-19 pandemic response in Canada
Keywords:Virtual Emergency Operations Center (VEOC), Emergency Operations Center (EOC), COVID-19 Response
The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated emergency management offices and organizations across Canada to activate their Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in a virtual capacity due to government restrictions limiting in-person activities and with the goal of reducing the spread of the virus. The aim of this exploratory research paper is to document the personal experiences of Canadian emergency management professionals working in a Virtual EOC (VEOC) environment during the COVID-19 response, including challenges and benefits they experienced, as well as lessons identified. Based on a sample of 81 emergency management professionals and using an inductive coding approach, the survey results illustrate both technological and nontechnological challenges and benefits. The findings highlight the need to incorporate three main elements into VEOC planning and operations: technology, processes, and people.
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