In 1992, Congress passed the WIPP Land Withdrawal Act,
Public Law 102-579. The Act created a New Mexico Governor's
WIPP Emergency Response Medical Training Advisory Committee.
Pursuant to then Governor Bruce King's Executive Order 93-
16, he appointed various members of the medical community
to advise him on emergency preparedness in New Mexico. The
Committee reviewed the training programs of the Department
of Energy (DOE) and its WIPP contractor, Westinghouse Waste
Isolation Division. |
In September 1994 the Committee released its report
entitled, "Report of the Governor's 'WIPP Emergency Response
Medical Training Advisory Committee.'" The Committee's
Findings and Recommendations included:
1.Training had been
conducted, but the training was not coordinated among the
various agencies. There was no formal mechanism to keep
track of those who had been trained and those who had
2.A "significant" concern of
the Committee was the fact that there was an inadequate
number of physicians or hospital radiation safety personnel
trained for a WIPP incident.
providers (EMTs and paramedics) had received very little
radiation incident training.
4.More DTPA, a chelating
agent for the treatment of internal plutonium exposure,
needed to be distributed to hospitals.
5.Formal evaluation of
medical preparedness within the State of New Mexico needed
to be reviewed every two years.
The State of New Mexico did not follow the fifth Committee
recommendation that a new survey be conducted every two
years. In October, 1998, four years after the release of
the Committee's report, CCNS began working with the New
Mexico Department of Health (DOH) to prepare and assist in
distributing the second in the series of surveys. The 1999
surveys are entitled "Training and Response Survey for
Emergency Medical Personnel to WIPP Transportation
Incidents." The distribution of the blank surveys was
limited to those emergency responders along the north-south
WIPP route in New Mexico. The purpose of the survey is to
determine the level of training and the amount of equipment
each department/agency has. There are four surveys directed
to four areas of emergency response:
1.Emergency Medical Services
- Local Responders Survey
2.Emergency Medical Services
- Directors Survey
Department - Staff Survey
Department - Directors Survey.
As of this writing, the DOH has received over 500 completed
surveys. CCNS is working with the DOH to create the
database. CCNS staff and volunteers will assist the DOH to
input the data.
CCNS provides these surveys as models for others along WIPP
routes to use. Feel free to contact us if you have any
questions or comments.
CCNS Documents Index