Key Emergency Information
What to Do if an Emergency Arises
DOE is committed to public safety in the event an emergency arises. You will likely be made aware that an emergency is happening through the television or radio and, depending on the level of emergency, the public warning siren system.
If an emergency is declared, trained responders are paged to the site's Emergency Operations Center. Conditions are then assessed to determine what should be done to protect the public and the environment. Within an hour, a news release would be issued to the media stating that an emergency is in progress along with any protective actions the public should take as directed by the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency.
Often these events are confined to the building or site and, therefore, impact only the employees working in the immediate area. Should an event affect the area beyond our site boundaries, warning sirens located within two miles of the site would be sounded. If you live in an affected area, you may be asked to remain in your residence if you are at home, or you may be asked to change your route if you are driving. When these announcements are made, specific instructions will be given and will vary depending on where you live. The key is to stay tuned to the television and radio media for the latest information.
The information on this web site describes this process in detail. You will know the types of emergencies declared, some background on our facilities, and a map to locate where you live and work. By becoming familiar with this information, you will know what to do if an emergency occurs on the Oak Ridge Reservation.
How We Notify the Public
For less severe emergencies, when there is not a hazardous materials release or the release is not causing a level of concern off the Oak Ridge Reservation, news releases will be issued. Protective actions by the public may not be necessary.
When there has been a release of hazardous materials resulting in a level of concern off the Oak Ridge Reservation, a combination of resources is utilized to notify the public to take protective actions. These include the Public Warning Siren System and the Emergency Alert System.
Categorization and Classification of Events
The following describes how emergencies are classified at DOE facilities. These levels increase in severity based on the emergency. You will hear these terms used during public announcements.
Events that do not involve a significant offsite release of hazardous materials but require significant response by the site, such as evacuation of buildings and response by the Fire Department, may be categorized as an Operational Emergency.
Events resulting in the airborne release of hazardous materials are further classified into one of three levels in order of increasing severity.
The figure below provides a representation of the classification levels. Classifying the event into a severity level activates the needed resources for the given condition.
Harmful levels of release not exceeding the facility boundary.
Site Area Emergency
Harmful levels of release go beyond the building but are still onsite.
Harmful levels of release have either the potential to or have gone offsite.