Heart of EOC a passion for tech director

February 19, 2014

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It’s almost as if the brain of the new local Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is tied directly to the heart of Jackie Solomon, Hood County’s director of technology.

Or maybe it’s the other way around.

“This is the electrical heartbeat for all of the systems in the Hood County Data Center,” Solomon said Monday afternoon while giving a detailed – almost passionate – tour of the facility’s Data Center.

Solomon said that since the day he started on the job at the old data center in 2010, he’s been battling computer heat issues. The APC Eco-Aisle system, manufactured by Schneider Electric, pumps cool air into a black cubicle that houses the computer systems and servers for the county business and operations.

“Heat – it’s the biggest killer of computer systems,” Solomon said of the preventive state-of-art technology. “It will measure the temperature, humidity and air pressure. And it will adjust. This is one of the first units deployed like this in the North Central Texas area.”

The old Data Center, which won’t be totally disconnected until an undetermined future date, originally served as the jail. Its problems were endured “until we were taxing the electrical systems that were built in the building.”

The EOC, backed by a $750,000 federal grant and matching funds, was finished in about 4-1/2 months – ahead of the original five-month plan, according to Alan Magee, founder of Fort Worth’s Magee Architects LP, which won the bid for the project.

It features a 250-kilowatt Cummins diesel emergency generator, which can be switched to run on natural gas if needed, Solomon said.

The new facility houses the Sheriff’s Office, plus Fire Marshal and Emergency Management Offices, and the 911 addressing office across from the Law Enforcement Center (LEC) on Deputy Larry Miller Drive. The LEC will still have the 911 emergency dispatchers as well as the Hood County Jail and Sheriff’s Office investigators. The office once occupied by Sheriff Roger Deeds and Chief Deputy Biff Temple will be filled by the DPS Office that’s now on the south end of the block, on West Pearl Street.

The EOC conference room has advanced video teleconferencing and other tactical tools such as radar and maps for disasters such as the EF-4 tornado that killed six people May 15 in the Rancho Brazos subdivision. The room includes an 80-inch interactive Sharp TV screen, with seven smaller screens.

“I think it’s going to be great for everybody,” Emergency Management Coordinator Ray Wilson said Friday. “When we are working in an emergency situation, we are a team.”

Because of the limited space in the LEC, which functioned as the EOC during the tornado, Wilson said that Emergency Management operations “had the potential to encroach on Sheriff’s Office operations.”

Deeds said the building is just under 10,000 square feet – more than double the size of where they had been working.

“The main thing is, the EOC is brought up to a higher standard of technology,” the sheriff said.

[email protected] | 817-573-7066, ext. 254

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