Skip To Content Privacy Page

Back to Impact Stories

Built For the Big One, And More

March 12, 2024

Emergency Preparedness


When the Regional Operations Center opened in fall 2019, local officials praised the design – the new heart of the County’s disaster response can withstand violent shaking with communications, electrical and other crucial systems intact.

Yet an earthquake in fault-lined San Mateo County is seemingly one of the few calamities the ROC, as it is known, has not experienced.

The COVID-19 pandemic hit within months of the ribbon cutting.

The ROC quickly became the local response hub. Public health and other local officials held near daily briefings with state officials as they coordinated the response and helped to keep residents informed during anxious times.

Then came wildfires (the CZU Lightning Complex being by far the most devastating in decades), landslide warnings, tsunami alerts, king tides, severe weather.

Local officials coordinate with cities, fire departments, utilities, law enforcement and other agencies to manage the response during recent winter storms.

Dan Belville, director of the County’s Department of Emergency Management during the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak and the CZU complex fires, said the ROC is the hub for disaster response.

“During the first stages of a crisis you need to establish clear lines of communication and determine who is doing what,” Belville said. “And just as important, we were able to eventually wind down the in-person operation for health and safety reasons due to COVID without any loss
in efficiency.”

On a daily basis, the ROC houses the County’s 9-1-1 public safety dispatchers, a secure data center and the Department of Emergency Management. (Public safety dispatchers for decades had worked out of the windowless basement of the County’s Hall of Justice, which opened during the Eisenhower Administration.)

400 County Center

Redwood City, CA 94063


Copyright © 2024 County of San Mateo. All rights reserved.