ORAU training and mobile app help communities near chemical stockpiles be prepared for related emergencies
OAK RIDGE, Tenn.—An ORAU-developed mobile application, CSEPP Ready, is a featured element in the inaugural 2013-2014 Prepare Pueblo emergency preparedness campaign in Pueblo, Colo., which is in its final phase from June to August 2014. Both the campaign and the app are intended to assist residents living in communities surrounding one of the last two active U.S. Army chemical warfare agent stockpiles with preparing for a potential related emergency.
Even though an accident is unlikely, FEMA and the Army work together to ensure the local communities are prepared through the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP). Through CSEPP, ORAU experts provide hands-on technology courses to train public affairs professionals and emergency managers to develop and deliver timely public information in an emergency event using the latest technology tools, including mobile apps, cloud technology and social media. Specifically, CSEPP Ready, which can be downloaded free in both Android and iPhone/iPad mobile formats, provides checklists for family disaster kits, information on how to respond to emergency sirens and directions for sheltering in place.
The Prepare Pueblo campaign focuses on talking about emergency preparedness with family, friends and coworkers, knowing residents’ emergency zones and listening for alerts and notifications. The campaign was created by Pueblo-based public affairs professionals and emergency managers who had been through ORAU-led CSEPP courses.
The CSEPP Ready app, and the training that ORAU provided, made a big difference in the preparation efforts.
“When we developed the 2013-2014 Prepare Pueblo Campaign, we knew immediately we wanted to use the latest technology,” said Lisa Shorter, Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office public information officer and Prepare Pueblo campaign director. “We included QR codes on our annual Preparedness Calendar, used Google Sites to create and launch our own website, established content on Facebook, Twitter and Flickr and have encouraged the community to download the CSEPP Ready app for their phones. Having the knowledge provided to us by the ORAU team, and using the products they have developed for the program, mean that our community is better prepared.”
With the first-year Prepare Pueblo campaign coming to a conclusion this August, ORAU experts are looking ahead to identify how the training and technology can be used to help other CSEPP communities.
“The hope is that other communities will either use the hands-on technology training we provide them for building mobile apps on their own or that they will come to us to have an app built for them,” said Holly Hardin, ORAU emergency management section manager. “Either way, this kind of on-the-go technology is one of the best ways to ensure that residents have critical information close at hand when they need it.”
Another ORAU mobile app, EROs To Go, was developed to help emergency exercise evaluators have CSEPP Emergency Response Outcomes and Exercise Evaluation Guides at their fingertips during a chemical stockpile exercise. This mobile app will be put to the test at an upcoming exercise involving the other chemical stockpile in Bluegrass, Ky., later this fall.
ORAU provides innovative scientific and technical solutions to advance national priorities in science, education, security and health. Through specialized teams of experts, unique laboratory capabilities and access to a consortium of more than 100 major Ph.D.-granting institutions, ORAU works with federal, state, local and commercial customers to advance national priorities and serve the public interest. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and federal contractor, ORAU manages the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).