Sandia LabNews

Equipped for emergencies


Sandia breaks ground on state-of-the-art Emergency Operations Center

NEW DIGS — Rendering of Sandia’s new Emergency Operations Center, expected to be fully operational by spring 2023. (Graphic courtesy of Sandia Emergency Management)

Shovels symbolically speared the ground Sept. 22 at the site of Sandia’s new $42.5 million Emergency Operations Center.

The 25,000-square-foot complex located on Kirtland Air Force Base is expected to be operational by spring 2023. The center will house NNSA and Sandia emergency management staff offices, the 24/7 Emergency Management Communications Center, dedicated incident management and coordination space and multipurpose training rooms, among other functions. Summit Construction of Albuquerque was awarded the construction project.

“The new Emergency Operations Center at Sandia is a testament to NNSA’s commitment to modern and sustainable infrastructure across the nuclear security enterprise,” said Dr. Daryl Hauck, manager of NNSA’s Sandia Field Office. “This state-of-the-art facility will allow Sandia to conduct its emergency preparedness and response capabilities in a secure and effective manner that is protective of their incredible workforce and our neighbors in the local community, and better aligned with the magnitude of the important work being done at the Labs.”

Emergency Operations Center functions

Sandia’s Emergency Operations Center, activated during an emergency or crisis, is staffed around the clock by the Labs’ emergency management specialists. The new facility will include functional and efficient space, tools and capabilities for emergency response professionals to identify, collect, analyze and share incident information with emergency response organizations like Kirtland Fire Emergency Services, Sandia Medical Clinic or the University of New Mexico Hospital.

THE SCOOP — Dignitaries from Sandia, NNSA and Summit Construction move the first shovels of earth commencing the construction of Sandia’s new Emergency Operations Center. Actual construction began at the site that afternoon. From left are David Stuhan, director of Sandia Environment, Safety and Health; Johnathon Huff, associate Labs director, National Security Programs; Patrick Thomas, president of Summit Construction Inc.; Amanda Tapia-Pittman, federal project director, NNSA Aquisition and Project Management; Dr. Daryl Hauck, manager of the NNSA Sandia Field Office; Dori Ellis, deputy Labs director and chief operations officer; and Harold Yeldell, associate Labs director of Infrastructure Operations. (Photo by Bret Latter)

“The safety and well-being of our employees and surrounding communities have always been a top priority for Sandia Labs and the NNSA,” said David Stuhan, director of Environment, Safety and Health. “This cutting-edge facility integrates emergency communications, operations, planning, logistics and even emergency training and policy leadership in close proximity and improves our ability to share preparedness and response information instantly with Kirtland Air Force Base, the NNSA, the DOE, New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, local government and tribal authorities or the public.”

Sandia’s emergency management organization will be located in the new Emergency Operations Center and oversee the building’s day-to-day operations. The Labs’ Emergency Management Communications Center will be staffed 24/7 and support emergency and nonemergency calls. The new facility will provide space for three dedicated 911 call stations, two dedicated nonemergency call stations and one dedicated Sandia duty officer station.

The new building will have redundant mechanical and electrical systems, a backup generator, showers, a kitchen with a pantry and dining area and temporary sleeping areas for resilience to operate independently for at least 70 hours.

Improvements with new Emergency Operations Center

The new center will provide numerous improvements to support Sandia’s emergency management organization and program, including response capabilities. Examples include:

  • Larger and more flexible space.
  • More area for a full emergency operations structure that aligns with the National Incident Management System.
  • Accommodations for up to 102 center staff (62 in the main area and 40 in an overflow area), compared to the 18-staff capacity of the current center.
  • A series of video walls and monitors that gives responders a common look at operations throughout the center.
  • Advanced training areas with modern technology.

NNSA’s construction pilot project

Sandia’s new Emergency Operations Center is supported by NNSA’s Enhanced Minor Construction and Commercial Practices initiative and is the fourth of four original EMC2 initiative projects to start construction.

EMC2 presents an opportunity to acquire less complex non-nuclear facilities that follow commercial best practices within NNSA requirements. This approach streamlines acquisition and execution processes, which accelerate delivery and increase buying power for commercial-like construction.

Distinguished groundbreaking guests

Joining Sandia and NNSA leadership were four New Mexico Congressional dignitaries who offered their take on Sandia’s new Emergency Operations Center.

Jason Jarvis, field representative, Office of Sen. Martin Heinrich, delivered comments from the senator.

“The new EOC will serve an essential role in maintaining the safety of Sandia’s workers and protecting the security of Sandia’s operations from all potential hazards. Once its construction is completed, a modern and fully equipped building will finally replace an outdated facility that is currently housed in the basement of a structure that was built in 1949.”

Sofia Sanchez, district director, Office of Rep. Melanie Stansbury

“Representative Stansbury visited the facility on base here last month. As someone who was a researcher herself and doing projects, she knows the importance of safety for our Sandians. And we are looking forward to coming back for the grand opening.”

Barbara Romero, northern district advisor, Office of Rep. Yvette Herrell delivered comments from the congresswoman.

 “New Mexico stood at the first horizon of the nuclear age. Our great state still pushes boundaries in science, technology and our knowledge of the cosmos. Sandia National Labs continues this great tradition ensuring that America is energized, secure and ready for the future. I applaud Sandia National Labs for their investment in our community and for their dedication to the safety of our citizens.”

Xochitl Campos Biggs, district director, Office of Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez

“I have had the pleasure of working with many emergency managers as a social worker in various capacities. I know that you are always preparing for an emergency that the rest of us are not thinking of. I know that some of your colleagues might even tease you when you go on trainings to make sure that you’re so prepared. Our office is very proud to support the work that you do keeping the workers here and our nation safe.”