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Experts from NNSA’s Office of Counterterrorism and Counterproliferation, in collaboration with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), recently trained emergency responders in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, on best practices in dealing with radiological dispersal devices, also known as “dirty bombs.”

The “Planning for the First 100 Minutes” training at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Y-12 National Security Complex explained the tools available at the local and state level to prepare for, respond to, and recover from a radiological attack.  This training ensures an understanding of the scientific basis behind the response guidance to dirty bombs.

“Teaming up in this way is crucial to ensuring that when it really counts, we’re all on the same page and can be that much more effective with our response,” said

Steven Johnson, Regional Program Manager for the Radiological Assistance Program’s Region 2.

First responders face many challenges in the event of a dirty bomb detonation.  Top priorities include: confirming a radiological release, conducting lifesaving rescue operations, issuing protective actions, and characterizing the scene.  These must be carried out as soon as possible after responders arrive on scene to ensure a successful response.  The First 100 Minutes training outlines missions and tactics to be used – based on realistic estimates of possible consequences.  It also offers best-practice recommendations for equipment requirements and communicating with the public.

NNSA’s Radiological Assistance Program consists of nine regions across the country, all ready to assist first responders at a moment’s notice should they need to evaluate and minimize the hazards of a radiological or nuclear incident.  Local Radiological Assistance Program team members facilitated the training, which was offered to participants from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Environmental Protection Agency, and FEMA along with state and local emergency planning and response personnel.