Public Security Ministry opens new control center

Emergency control room, located in the ministry’s building in Jerusalem, is built to withstand unconventional weapons attacks.

November 29, 2011 03:51
1 minute read.
Aharonovitch in emergency control center

Aharonovitch in emergency control center 311. (photo credit: Public Security Ministry)

The Public Security Ministry unveiled a new emergency control center this week designed to provide decision-makers with real-time information during times of war or natural disasters.

The center, located in the ministry’s building in Jerusalem, is built to withstand unconventional weapons attacks.

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It will receive information from police, firefighters, paramedics, and the IDF Home Front Command via encrypted landlines, and present it in a comprehensive manner with the help of expensive computer systems.

“Today, we have to prepare for all sorts of scenarios, including the possibility of missile attacks,” a senior official from the ministry told The Jerusalem Post. “Until now, the ministry wasn’t prepared for these kinds of emergencies. This will upgrade us by several levels.

“The public security minister didn’t have a place like this. In the past, he would receive verbal reports from his security secretary. The secretary got his information from phone conversations with sources,” the official explained.

The control room, which cost NIS 2.7 million to construct, will play a role in coordinating counter-terrorism operations, safeguarding public order, crime-fighting, and providing aid to the IDF during missile attacks.

“It’s clear that we need to synchronize all of the [emergency] bodies, while maintaining a national perspective,” Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said while inspecting the center on Sunday.

Past times of crisis, including the Second Lebanon War, Operation Cast Lead, and the Carmel Fire disaster were all catalysts in setting up the center, the official said.

During emergencies, the control room will be manned 24 hours a day by a specially trained team. Staff members will include 45 retired police officers. During times of calm, it will be staffed only some of the time.

The move also reflects the growing jurisdiction of the Public Security Ministry, which is seeking to house all emergency services under its roof.

Over the past year, the Fire and Rescue Services, the Firearms Licensing Authority, and the Drug Authority have all come under the ministry’s jurisdiction.

The ministry is also planning on assuming responsibility over the Magen David Adom paramedic service.

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