Oak Ridge National Laboratory


News Release

Media Contact: Cindy Ross Lundy ()
Communications and External Relations


Emergency response exercise, siren test set for May 13

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., May 6, 1998 — Hundreds of responders will participate in a large-scale emergency management exercise set for Wednesday, May 13, at the Department of Energy's (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).

As part of the exercise, known as "Volunteer Response '98," public warning sirens surrounding ORNL will be sounded. The sirens are intended to provide immediate notification of an emergency to people who are within an approximate two-mile radius of the site. Also, the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency will activate the regional Emergency Alert System with a test message to be broadcast on local radio and television stations.

The emergency exercise will involve a hypothetical scenario that results in the simulated release of hazardous material. It is part of a series of exercises that have been conducted during recent months to ensure that the public, onsite employees and the environment would be protected in the unlikely event of an emergency on the Oak Ridge Reservation. Lockheed Martin Energy Research Corporation manages ORNL for DOE.

Exercise participants will include the DOE Oak Ridge Operations Office; DOE Headquarters; Lockheed Martin; the State of Tennessee; the City of Oak Ridge; Anderson, Knox, Loudon and Roane counties; and the American Red Cross. The exercise will test the integrated capabilities of these agencies to respond to an emergency resulting from an event at ORNL.

Anyone near the exercise scene on May 13 might observe personnel performing environmental sampling, city or county emergency vehicles heading for ORNL, or other exercise participants simulating emergency response activities. Although in an actual emergency, roads in the vicinity of the site could be blocked for rerouting of traffic, the exercise will involve no disruption to traffic on state highways.

In the unlikely event of an actual emergency on the Oak Ridge Reservation involving the release of airborne hazardous materials, the sounding of the warning sirens would alert people to take shelter indoors, to turn off ventilation systems and to tune to one of the local radio or television stations for more information. Complete details on actions to take if the warning sirens are activated are found in the Southeast Directory for Anderson, Roane and Morgan counties ("Talking Phone Book"). The sounding of the sirens on the morning of May 13 is for the exercise only.

The "Volunteer Response '98" exercise originally was scheduled for April 22, but last month's severe weather conditions resulted in its postponement until May 13.