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SAFE2010: Supporting and Securing SLAC

(Photo by Brad Plummer; poster by SLAC InfoMedia Solutions.)

SLAC's Security team is on site and on duty 24/7—days, nights and weekends— to make sure that the lab is safe and secure. Security staff control site access and field incoming requests that range from visitor questions to 911 emergencies.

"SLAC officers are very familiar with the site and can be dispatched at any time for any incident," said SLAC Security Manager Simon Ovrahim. "Every call is different and unique, and they are always there to assist the SLAC community. We work closely with every department at SLAC when it comes to security and safety."

Anyone calling the SLAC Incident Notification System (x5555) is connected to the Security team at SLAC's Main Gate. The officers dispatch patrol officers and notify key responders, including the facilities manager designee and fire marshal, and escort any off-site emergency responders to the location of the incident. Since the implementation of the notification systems, SLAC security has responded to calls ranging from medical emergencies, hazardous materials concerns and wildfires on site.

In addition to emergency readiness, the security team juggles a range of day-to-day responsibilities: ushering traffic through the main gate, checking in visitors for public lectures and tours, managing staff badges and more. Dealing with traffic around the main gate may be one of the trickiest responsibilities of the Security team—nearly 1800 cars, 100 cyclists and 100 pedestrians enter SLAC every day. At the same time, security officers direct all visitors, which can be anywhere from 25 to 50 people each day, to their destinations. Security staff also, among other duties, handle after-hours deliveries, and even deal with cleanup from storms and spills.

The security team was on site for the entire duration of the power outage back in January. As a primary task, they informed people approaching the main gate of the situation and answered the many phone calls coming in from concerned staff. Security staff also worked with the SLAC Emergency Operations Center by updating them, hourly, of events and further instructions received regarding laboratory status.

"Communicating with people was very important," said Securitas Account Manager Fawad Shaw.

Coordination was complicated by the fact that the entire site was without power for a couple of days.

Scouring the site, the security team put up yellow caution tape to block cars and pedestrians from entering flooded roadways. They escorted Facilities Division staff to buildings, providing a light source and keys. Additionally, during the power outage, the security team reported all potentially hazardous leaks and downed trees. Working in overdrive, they handled all of these duties with the same staff and resources they have on any ordinary day. And they succeeded.

"We came out without any major incident," Shaw said.

Day-to-day activities for the security team tend to wind down by evening, but SLAC is a facility that never really sleeps and the grave yard shift deals with their own list of responsibilities.

Natalie Aylesworth, the senior staff member on the grave yard shift, manages the main gate, a place she calls the "nerve center." Aside from monitoring the flux of SLAC staff in and out of the gate and logging in visitors staying at the guest house, they also deal with a variety of calls and inquiries during the wee hours.

Upon answering a call about a water leak, smoke sighting or the occasional stray animal sneaking indoors, Aylesworth dispatches a nearby officer to check out the situation. Security staff conduct tours of all the buildings on site, patrol the site perimeter and make routine special inspections of certain areas, such as Endstation B or any building in need of special attention, for example, by conducting an hourly fire watch during fire system repairs.

"We try to cater to the needs of SLAC employees and make sure there are no safety and security issues," Aylesworth said.

—Julie Karceski
SLAC Today, June 28, 2010