NEWS MEDIA CONTACTS: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dolline Hatchett, DOE, 202/586-5806 Monday, August 26, 2002 David Hess, DOJ, 202/307-0703
FEDERAL AGENCIES COOPERATE TO PROVIDE RADIATION DETECTION EQUIPMENT AND TRAINING TO EMERGENCY RESPONDERS
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Departments of Justice and Energy have joined in a cooperative effort, called the Homeland Defense Equipment Reuse (HDER) Program, to provide surplus radiological detection instrumentation and other equipment to state and local emergency first responder agencies nationwide to enhance their domestic preparedness capabilities. The agreement is part of the larger federal effort to enhance the equipment and training available to our nation’s emergency first responders.
“The Department of Energy (DOE) is proud to help ensure that our law enforcement and emergency personnel have the necessary equipment and training to prepare them to respond effectively and thoroughly to any emergency. We are pleased to again provide DOE resources to help ensure America’s homeland defense,” Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham said.
Attorney General John Ashcroft said, “The HDER Program is an excellent example of federal agencies and private organizations working together to address a critical domestic preparedness issue. This program demonstrates the administration’s commitment to equipping those on the domestic front lines – our state and local emergency first responders – in the nation’s effort to prevent future terrorist attacks.”
A variety of equipment to measure the presence of radiation will be made available through the HDER Program. The equipment, which comes from Energy Department sites across the nation, will be evaluated and refurbished by radiation equipment specialists at DOE’s Office of Assets Utilization, National Center of Excellence for Materials Recycle in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Office for Domestic Preparedness (ODP) will then work with established contacts in each state to identify appropriate users in their local emergency responder communities, and DOE will deliver the equipment to these jurisdictions at no cost.
Training on the use of the equipment will be available to the emergency responders through ODP’s Domestic Preparedness Equipment Technical Assistance Program (DPETAP). If requested, DPETAP will provide detailed technical information and hands-on equipment operation and maintenance training. Local support for the equipment, including calibration, maintenance and follow-on refresher training, will also be available through a partnership with the Health Physics Society, a 6,000 member national organization of radiation safety professionals.
A pilot phase for the HDER Program began on July 1, 2002. This pilot phase will be coordinated with the states containing the nation’s 10 largest metropolitan areas, which include: Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington D.C.
Additional information on the HDER program can be obtained at the DOE’s website at www.oakridge.doe.gov or the DOJ’s website http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/odp/.