National Nuclear Security Administration

Savannah River Site "Live Burn" Training Sharpens Skills

June 30, 2015

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Live Burn trainingAs part of the training that equips them to ensure safe operations, Savannah River Site radiological protection (RP) and fire department personnel recently conducted their annual “Live Burn” training exercises that simulate fires in facilities with chemical and radiological contamination. The Live Burn exercise took place at the Martinez-Columbia County Fire Rescue Training Facility in nearby Martinez, Ga., over four days, with three different scenarios per day, giving each shift the opportunity to participate.

“We had facilities from across the Site participate. This allows radiological protection inspectors, First Line Managers and Operators to receive the same training and learn the same techniques,” said Cristie Shuford, Manager, Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS) Site Radiological Training.

Each day began with a safety briefing, followed by sessions for the RP team to practice essential steps in the decontamination process, such as replacing a firefighter’s potentially contaminated respirator gear for a new, “clean” breathing cartridge.

After the practice session, each Live Burn exercise started with a fire in the training facility. In full bunker gear, firefighters faced many variables as they battled the fire and rescued “victims” (training dummies). Scenarios, for example, could involve a fire in a facility with radioactive materials, as well as toxic chemicals.

Training exercises, such as Live Burn drills, are conducted to ensure the safe operations of the facilities located within the Site's 300 square miles. Local communities also benefit from these extensive preparedness efforts, as SRNS has mutual aid agreements with adjacent counties, offering them emergency assistance from the SRS fire department and radiological protection when requested.