For Immediate Release
March 19, 2020
INDIANAPOLIS – Today, Marion County public safety and public health agencies announced the upgrade of the Marion County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to Level 1 status. The EOC is convening representatives from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD), Indianapolis Fire Department (IFD), Indianapolis Emergency Medical Services (IEMS), Marion County Public Health Department (MCPHD), Marion County Sheriff’s Office, and local hospitals to monitor the developing situation around the clock and provide a coordinated response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented situation that requires an unprecedented response from our community,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett. “Having our public safety and public health agencies in constant communication ensures the paramedics, firefighters, officers, and healthcare professionals on the frontlines of this crisis have the most up-to-date information and are best prepared to keep themselves and the residents we all serve safe.”
Upgrading the EOC to Level 1 status follows the National, State, and Local Emergency Declarations and results in 24/7 operations in close coordination with the Office of Mayor Hogsett and City policymakers. Multiple daily briefings are held with City, County, State, and Federal public safety leadership. Operational directives are issued to frontline staff from leaders at the EOC as new intelligence is gained and this rapidly-changing situation evolves.
“We are actively monitoring our local hospitals, clinics, and primary care providers, making sure they have the equipment, resources, and support they need to serve individuals suffering from COVID-19. We continue to ask our residents to wash their hands frequently, maintain a 6-foot distance from those around them, and stay at home if at all possible. If someone believes they are exhibiting symptoms consistent with COVID-19, we ask them to take advantage of telehealth services or call their doctor before visiting a healthcare system,” said Dr. Virginia Caine, Director of MCPHD.
The Emergency Operations Center stands ready year-round to convene public health, safety, and service agencies in the event of extreme weather and emergency incidents.
“The IMPD Homeland Security Bureau is prepared 365 days a year to activate the EOC and manage any crisis our community may face,” said IMPD Homeland Security Commander Tom Sellas. “The agencies that serve our city have mobilized quickly to monitor developments and actively respond. We are utilizing every resource available and taking significant steps to sustain our first responders while placing the health and safety of the citizens of Indianapolis above all.”
The last time the EOC was activated to Level 1 was in 2006, when straight-line winds ripped through downtown and shattered windows of skyscrapers. In 2004, a tornado that occurred during the Indy 500 resulted in a Level 2 activation.
“The men and women of IEMS are prepared to respond to any needs during this time and also want to assure the public that we are capable of handling any increased volume the area expects to see,” said Dr. Dan O’Donnell, Chief of Indianapolis EMS. “Times like these bring out the very best in us all and IEMS has proved its capabilities to keep our EMTs, paramedics, and other public safety partners safe. We ask that people experiencing flu-like symptoms contact their health care providers first to receive necessary instructions, and remind people that if our providers respond while wearing their personal protective equipment (PPE) it is not a cause for alarm. It is standard protocol and designed to keep everyone safe.”
Residents seeking medical information related to COVID-19 are encouraged to visit the ISDH and MCPHD sites dedicated to the virus. A comprehensive hub for resources available to residents impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic can be found at indy.gov/covid. Those in need of non-emergency police services are asked to call 317-327-3811. Individuals in need of City services may call the Mayor’ Action Center at 317-327-4622.
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