County Emergency Operations Center Shelter Communications App Wins Best Practices Award

County Manager Michele Lieberman and Commissioner Marihelen Wheeler holding the Best Practices AwardAlachua County was awarded a “County Government Best Practices Award” from the Florida Counties Foundation during the Florida Association of Counties (FAC) Annual Conference in Orange County this week. Alachua County received the award for the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Shelter Communications App that was designed and developed by the County’s Information and Telecom Services (ITS) department. The County was one of only seven counties honored during the FAC Celebration Dinner.

This application was designed to facilitate communication and collaboration between emergency shelters and the EOC during an emergency response. This helps officials make the most informed decisions possible in a timely manner.

Highlights include:

  • Tracking a shelter’s population in real-time, including the number of pets (when applicable)
  • Text-based chatting with other shelter managers as a group, one-on-one, or with the EOC
  • Broadcasting high-priority alerts from the EOC to all shelters
  • An EOC wall-projector dashboard, showing real-time stats and graphs concerning the capacity, population and population growth of any shelter, as well as aggregate data for all shelters
  • A simple mechanism for the EOC to authorize access on any device for a set period of time, without requiring account creation, username, or password
  • The full app functionality is retained and core population tracking functionality is maintained even with weak or no internet access


“The Best Practices Award is a great way to highlight local initiatives and innovative solutions that counties are employing to increase efficiencies in service,” said Executive Director of the Florida Counties Foundation Eric Poole. “It’s our goal, not only to honor this year’s winners but to also encourage a peer to peer exchange of ideas between all 67 counties.”

Launched this year, the awards program was designed for counties to submit programs or projects for consideration that address specific needs within their communities.

For more information, contact Alachua County ITS Director Kevin Smith at 352-338-7300 or kgsmith@alachuacounty.us.

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