Editor’s Message, March 2020 / Message du rédacteur, mars 2020
I hope you are finding ways to cope in these difficult times. Pulling together as a community, while keeping our physical distance, has never been more important. As a result of the pandemic, we are including an important announcement from the CRPA board in this issue.
Also in this issue, we have another question from our CRPA(R) library provided by Chris Malcolmson. Our US colleague Scott Nichelson teams up with a north-of-the-border colleague, Stéphane Jean-François, to bring us an update from the Health Physics Society.
Ed Waller’s President’s Message provides an excellent commentary on nuclear security. As he notes, “You cannot have radiation safety without nuclear security.” Security for nuclear material and installations is a licensing requirement. Creating a strong security culture is important to safety for every licensee.
The university where I work held a campus-wide lockdown drill in January. The exercise was a soft rollout to introduce the campus community to the lockdown process, not a drill for our emergency response teams. The scenario proposed was that an external threat was underway. The expectation was for folks to consider what they might do to shelter in place should a real threat happen.
At our facility, we communicated the date and time of the drill in advance, held information sessions, informed staff of the methods by which the automated notice would be spread, and assigned observers to various parts of the building. Over half of our 250 staff attended one of the three voluntary information sessions. We provided information about the actions to consider when sheltering in place—these actions would depend on the situation people found themselves in during a lockdown.
During the 10-minute event, while the lockdown was in progress, the observers used the opportunity to
- see if people received the notification
- watch who took action
- have conversations with folks involved to learn what went well and what could be improved
The exercise was very informative—the process was well received and led to a considerable amount of feedback on ways to improve. The most important outcome was heightened security awareness at our low-risk facility. Planning, communication, testing, and continuous improvement are the cornerstones of an effective emergency response. How prepared does your facility need to be for an emergency?