LEAD | On Sept. 27, Sanford Underground Research Facility (Sanford Lab) hosted a facility-wide emergency drill involving multiple departments and outside agencies.
In addition to weekly and quarterly training, Sanford Lab hosts an annual emergency drill with scenarios designed to trigger external organizations. This year, external agencies included the Lead-Deadwood Sheriff's Department, Lead-Deadwood Hospital and Ambulance, Spearfish Ambulance; Highway Patrol; Department of Homeland Security; and Federal Bureau of Investigation; and a SWAT Special Response Team (SRT) comprised of members of the S.D. Highway Patrol, the Pennington County Sheriff’s Department and the Rapid City Police Department.
“While our Emergency Rescue Team (ERT) is highly and regularly trained to perform many kinds of rescue operations, there are some emergencies that require outside assistance,” said Paul “Woody” Hover, ERT lead and site safety specialist.
The drill also gave Sanford Lab the opportunity to set up and test the internal Command Center, modeled after the national standardized Incident Command System.
“The intention of doing a drill is to stress our systems. Invariably, these drills expose weaknesses and gaps where we thought we had it covered,” said Larry Jaudon, director of Environment, Safety and Health at Sanford Lab. “It helps us understand where we need to become stronger.”
By interfacing with agencies across the state, each participating organization gets to see how their part plays out in real time and which processes need to be strengthened.
“Sanford Lab has a strong desire to be the best when it comes to safety,” said Jaudon. “This exercise was just one of the many things we do to help us get there.”