Oak Creek — The city is adding on to its municipal building at Drexel Town Square with an Emergency Operations Center on the second floor.

While the rooms exist and were constructed when the municipal center was built, they are not complete. Tom Rosandich, Oak Creek fire chief and emergency management director, said work will begin this month to complete the EOC.

It’s estimated the center will be ready to go in February 2017. Once the facility is up and running, Rosandich said “probably a year of training” will be needed to fully familiarize everyone with the center’s operation.

The facility will be in southeast corner of the building and will consist of two rooms. The rooms would be accessed through the south stairwell.

Rosandich said that when an emergency operation plan was being created in the early 1990s, he mentioned the need for an emergency operations center. Throughout the process, from that time until the present, there have been multiple locations chosen for an EOC. Some of those locations included the basement of city hall, fire station number three, the former police station, and the current station’s courtroom.

Rosandich said when the new municipal center was being discussed it was seen as an option, so space was eventually set aside.

Using one location also reduces confusion of where to go, Rosandich noted, adding that a dedicated EOC also allows for space to always be ready in case of emergency. There's no time-consuming setup to worry about.

“People can come in, sit down, start working on the tasks that are needed instead of worrying about setup,” Rosandich said.

Oak Creek is the backup center for Milwaukee County, so this benefits more than just the city, he added, and it’s possible other municipalities could use the new facility as their backup or primary EOC.

The city is looking toward the future. Rosandich said one day the city hopes to have live video feeds via drones sent back to the EOC.

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