Today at Berkeley Lab

A Message from Director Alivisatos on Emergency Preparedness

Earlier this month, I joined many fellow employees at the Lab’s 6th Annual Emergency Preparedness Fair, where we were able to learn from representatives of 32 organizations including the Alameda County Fire Department, the UC Police Department, the American Red Cross, and our very own LBNL Security and Emergency Services team. The fair was lively and informative.

Berkeley Lab concluded a series of emergency preparedness events in July with a disaster exercise. This exercise tested our Emergency Operations Center (EOC) plans with a power outage/accident event that included moving the EOC staff from the primary to an alternate EOC location.

While these annual events go a long way toward raising awareness, preparing for disasters must continue year-round. Our new Security and Emergency Services Leader, Allen Benitez, is charged with developing and strengthening our emergency and continuity of operations preparedness. The Lab is currently replacing the old Fire Apparatus Building with a new, seismically-sound building, so that our fire trucks and emergency vehicles will be better protected in the event of a major earthquake. We have also recently hired a new Security Program manager, Brian Strock, a new Emergency Services Program manager, Aaron Ward, and a new Business Continuity Program manager, Heidi Nelkie, to lead improvements and ensure cohesiveness across our security and emergency preparedness programs.

We are strengthening our Emergency Response Organization process, streamlining EOC operations, and providing additional training, support, and resources for our Building Emergency Teams. While there is much work to be done, the Lab is taking steps to improve preparedness for critical events.

I recently acted to improve my emergency preparedness at home. There are steps that each of us can take to ensure that our families will have the supplies and plans in place to recover from a disaster:

• Install and/or test your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors twice a year.
• Practice your family emergency plan that includes ways to exit in case of fire and where to meet after evacuation.
• Keep an emergency kit at home and in your car so needed emergency supplies and medications are close at hand.
• Consider taking First Aid/CPR classes so you can render aid as needed.

For more information about emergency preparation, developing a family emergency plan, or building an emergency supply kit, please visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s website at As we are all aware, the Bay Area is prone to multiple types of natural disasters, and we can each take practical steps to prepare.