It is always a good time to practice preparedness by taking precautionary measures to plan for possible emergencies. September is National Preparedness Month, a time for us all to rededicate ourselves to this important principle. It is also an opportunity to highlight a few of the many dedicated, highly-trained members of the Department of Energy (DOE) and NNSA who make their living expecting the unexpected.
Meet Brandon Charles Bielhy, Contractor Emergency Manager for the Department of Energy Headquarters Emergency Management Team.
What do your day-to-day duties entail?
My work at DOE headquarters includes the preparation, development, and maintenance of Occupant Emergency Plans along with logistics and operations support for the Incident Management Team/Crisis Action Team. I conduct emergency response training – emphasizing an all-hazards approach – via public speaking, data collection, and document creation and maintenance.
I create and implement Continuity of Operations plans and procedures as well as administer, troubleshoot, configure, and maintain the departmental alert notification system (DOE AWARe) in support of the Office of the Chief Information Officer. Additionally, I create and maintain preparedness content on DOE’s internal wiki site and Energy.gov.
How do you support DOE/NNSA emergency operations?
I represent DOE during national level exercises. I provide logistics and operations support for the DOE HQ Incident Management Team/Crisis Action Team. I also have a history of supporting the DOE headquarters Protective Force, having served as a Security Police Officer for eight years.
What is a common mistake or misperception people have about emergency preparedness?
A myth exists among many that most people act irrationally and selfishly in the face of disasters. The fact is that many studies have shown that most people plan their actions using a logical series of steps based on information available to them. Most disaster victims are resilient and selflessly help others.
What is one key item would you advise the public to keep in mind when it comes to emergency preparedness?
Many times, especially outside of the workplace, aid and assistance may take some time to respond to an emergency event. We all may not be experts in handling everything that could possibly transpire but it’s important to map out general courses of action or some basic personal responses to follow before first responders arrive.