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 Scott Thomas, DOE/NNSA EOC Consolidated Emergency Operations Center Emergency Management Specialist (Watch Officer).
What do your day-to-day duties entail?
I am the 24/7 single point of contact for collecting, processing, and disseminating time-sensitive emergency notifications. This includes establishing and maintaining Continuity of Operations in direct support of the Secretary of Energy, DOE leadership, the Under Secretary for Nuclear Security, and NNSA leadership.
How do you support DOE/NNSA emergency operations?
I perform initial notifications and coordinate management, logistics, and mobilization during national emergencies, natural and man-made disasters, acts of terrorism, or other extraordinary situations requiring centralized management notification and response.
I maintain situational awareness of the U.S. energy infrastructure and nuclear weapons complex and help manage of national emergency event response via a secure nationwide communications network. I also serve a vital role in NNSA’s ability to conduct routine and emergency operations.
What is a common mistake or misperception people have about emergency preparedness?
People think “nothing will ever happen while I’m on watch/duty,” so they don’t carry out their emergency preparedness plans.
What is one key item would you advise the public to keep in mind when it comes to emergency preparedness?
Plan and exercise/practice your emergency response actions; stay vigilant!