EM Headquarters Office Ensures Safeguards, Security, Emergency Preparedness

The Office of Safeguards, Security and Emergency Preparedness has a unique function supporting the EM mission.

Its role assisting, assessing, and advocating for EM field sites is similar to the functions of the rest of EM headquarters. But the office differs with its focus on ensuring EM’s safeguards, security, and emergency preparedness. These areas are not traditionally associated with environmental management activities but they are critical due to the nature of the nuclear materials EM is responsible for cleaning up. Late last year, EM established fire protection and emergency preparedness — two of the office’s core functions — as safety focus areas for fiscal year 2016.

A major priority for the office is the security of EM sites. The office assesses all sites equally, maintaining its commitment to serve their needs regardless of size or perceived security conditions. All sites are included in the office’s Field Corporate Board meeting, where they have the opportunity to bring up important issues. The office’s staff members work with site counterparts to learn about the issues prior to the meeting to ensure focused discussions and issue resolution.

The office is developing a report on its fiscal year 2016 work that will help staff members benchmark their performance to improve their work assisting, assessing, and advocating for their field counterparts. Key to the report are lessons learned on preparing for and responding to emergency situations, such as hazardous material releases, and ensuring classified documents and materials are properly handled. The lessons learned are based on nearly two years of evaluations and assessments conducted at the sites to identify trends. Research revealed 12 lessons learned in emergency preparedness and six in the classification program. The office believes that sharing the results of evaluating a wide range of reports will help improve the EM cleanup.