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SLAC to Test New Emergency Response System Thursday

This Thursday, August 27, from 7:30 a.m. until noon, SLAC will conduct the first exercise of its new Emergency Response Organization, or ERO. If you should happen to see emergency response personnel and vehicles entering the SLAC campus Thursday morning, don't worry—this is a drill.

During the past eighteen months, SLAC's Environment, Safety and Health Division has been updating SLAC's ERO. "We've been putting a lot of work into improving our ERO," said Brian Sherin of ES&H. "Thursday's drill is designed to test all aspects of our new system and how we integrate with external emergency agencies."

Thursday's drill will provide the first full-scale test of the new ERO structure, which now includes three sub-groups working together to safely and efficiently handle any emergency that might arise.

The SLAC Emergency Response Team would act as the first responders in an emergency. Members of this group are trained in First Aid, CPR, light search and rescue and fire suppression. In the event of a real emergency, the ERT would work closely with local authorities on the scene. The SLAC Emergency Operations Center would coordinate all of the larger tactical issues associated with responding to a large event. The final component of the ERO, the Recovery Management Team, would oversee the strategic recovery aspects of an event, including decisions to shut down and reopen portions of the lab.

This Thursday's emergency drill will take place in the Research Yard area. In addition to the SLAC ERO, emergency personnel from several local municipalities will participate in the exercise. The entire drill will be observed and evaluated by representatives from other Bay Area labs and from Stanford Campus. Their observations and feedback will be used to fill any observed gaps as part of the program's continual improvement process.

"The end goal is to have better preparation if and when we do have an emergency; whether it's an earthquake, wildfire, major power outage or other event," explained Sherin. "It won't matter what the emergency is; we're testing the system to be sure it runs smoothly."

—Lauren Knoche
SLAC Today, August 25, 2009