New Emergency Operations Centre opened ahead of bushfire season

17 Sept 2020

City of Newcastle has unveiled its new local emergency operations centre (LEOC) to representatives from Police, State Emergency Services and Fire and Rescue ahead of the official start of bushfire season on 1 October.

The new LEOC at the City Administration Centre, 12 Stewart Avenue, replaces the 30-year-old facility at Tighes Hill, which no longer complies with modern standards, nor is it compatible with partnering emergency services’ technologies. This meant a temporary response centre had to be established at Newcastle Library during the 2019 catastrophic bush fire event.

The LEOC’s technology and flexible design allow emergency services, including Fire and Rescue NSW, NSW Rural Fire Service, NSW Police, Ambulance NSW and the NSW SES, to join with City of Newcastle and other agencies to coordinate responses to a range of incidents and natural disasters.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes (centre) and Emergency Management Coordinator Leanne Bell (right) with emergency services personnel in the new Local Emergency Operations Centre.

Features include multiple 85 and 65-inch screens with live-stream capabilities; a 16-seat conferencing facility with wireless presentation and TV connectivity for news coverage, weather and traffic updates; 32-seat room and the ability to create breakaway spaces; as well as a commercial kitchen capable of providing meals in the event of a city-wide blackout.

The co-location of the LEOC on the sixth floor of the City Administration Centre ensures this comprehensive range of amenities and support facilities are readily available in a central location with access to backup power on site via two diesel-powered generators.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the new LEOC would allow emergency services improved connectivity, efficiency and personal comfort, which could prove crucial in a major incident.

“The way in which we respond to emergencies has significantly evolved with advancements in technology,” the Lord Mayor said.

“This new state-of-the-art facility launches our emergency response operations into the 21st Century, providing the best possible facilities and resources to support our emergency agencies on the ground assisting the community in times of disaster when they are counting on us to respond swiftly and efficiently.”

City of Newcastle is required to provide a Local Emergency Operations Control facility under the State Emergency and Rescue Management Act 1989.