News | Oct. 4, 2016

Security and Emergency Services prevents, protects, responds and recovers

By Kimberly K. Fritz DLA Aviation Public Affairs

On any given day, the people, places and things at Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia are protected by the men and women working as police officers, firefighters and a host of other security professionals that keep the center safe and operating.

Defense Logistics Agency Installation Support at Richmond’s Security and Emergency Services Division employs more than 115 individuals serving in various positions. While some are seen every day on patrol or when responding to an emergency situation, there are those that work behind the first responders in roles as important to the community’s safety, like physical security, emergency management, antiterrorism, criminal intelligence and chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high yield explosives known as CBRNE.

In addition to the routine police work like patrolling the streets and manning the entry points and the calls for emergency medical help the fire department responds to, every member of the team is focused on the four pillars of emergency services: prevent, protect, respond and recover, said Security and Emergency Services Chief Thomas Reinard.

Maintaining the safety of the installation falls to Reinard and his teams, which means he and his chiefs – DSCR Police Chief Chad Tearne, DSCR Fire Chief Don Rodgers, and DSCR Security Services Chief, Richard Milligan – are always looking ahead and readying for what might come.

“Whether it’s 20-inches of snow, a tornado or an active shooter scenario, we’re trained and ready to respond,” Reinard said. “Any possible event is prepared for with all emergency pillars in mind.”

Their preparations include training, planning and partnerships with Chesterfield County police and fire departments.

DSCR and the county have a mutual aid agreement on the fire side of the house, Reinard said. The fire department responds off post frequently and county firefighters respond on the installation. Similarly, we have a close working relationship with the Chesterfield County Police.  

Policing on DSCR is similar to that of other departments in the U.S., Tearne said.

“We’re here to provide a safe place to work,” he said. “We’re monitoring entry and exit daily, ensuring the safety and security of all employees at DSCR, as well as parking and speed enforcement.”

Another advantage to partnering with the Chesterfield County Police Department is training, Tearne said.

“We are always working to better our response times,” Tearne said. “We work with them to utilize more resources.”

Also available to the departments is a simulated two-story facility with stairwells and cubicles located inside DSCR’s Warehouse 15 for firefighter and police officer training. There DSCR emergency response workers hone their life-saving skills.

DSCR’s fire department is a full-service department with advanced and basic life support, hazardous materials, technical rescue and structural response capabilities, Rodgers said.

“Right now, we provide more EMS support to the installation than any other service,” he said. “We work frequently with Chesterfield County for their HAZMAT needs. We would require the help of their fire fighters to respond safely and effectively if we were to have a significant fire on Center. We also conduct a lot of training with them to improve our interoperability. They’ve called us for help with everything from fires to hazardous materials response such as helping to identify a meth lab earlier this year.

DSCR’s Fire Department is nationally accredited and responds to 600-800 calls per year.

Rodgers said that some of their calls go unseen by the workforce. EMS tops the list of calls for the Fire Department, with HAZMAT at second and fire calls, third.

“We don’t evacuate the building when EMS responds, people aren’t watching what we do like they do when we respond to a fire alarm,” he said. “A lot of our HAZMAT calls take place on the backside of the installation and people aren’t aware of those responses.”

The fire department is divided into two sections: Technical Services (fire prevention and training) and the operations section dedicated to emergency response. Each is led by an assistance chief.

The fire prevention and public education piece is a large part of the fire inspectors’ mission, Rodgers said.

“They are responsible for training our fire wardens (the employees at each building responsible for fire safety and ensuring the workers know what to do when an alarm sounds), code enforcement, home fire safety, work fire safety and fire inspections.”

The operations staff consists of 28 firefighters and one security assistant. Of the firefighters about half are paramedic trained and advanced life support certified, and half are emergency medical technician trained and can provide basic life support.

“This gives the installation access to advanced life support personnel that is a service level objective for the department,” he said.  “When firefighters aren’t responding to a call, they are in some form of training. Whether it is physical training to be able to endure the demands of the occupation’s equipment requirements or training on equipment, we’re always preparing.”

A typical day for a DSCR firefighter begins with ensuring their equipment is ready and they are trained to use everything on their vehicle.

“It may take an hour or more to ensure that the response apparatus is ready to go,” Rodgers said.

Following that preparation, the firefighters check their training and maintenance schedule for anything that may need to be completed. Then they head to the fitness center where they maintain their abilities to endure the stress of their occupation.

“They get about 90 minutes to work out each day,” Rodgers said. “We take great pride in keeping our firefighters fit. People don’t know the physical stress involved in going from a dead sleep to responding to a call, whether in the heat or in the cold. They must be prepared.”

After their work-outs they go back to the station for their additional duties, requested support and to be at the ready for the next emergency call.

DSCR may have the smallest of DLA’s fire and police departments, but Reinard considers them unsurpassed in the quality of service they provide to the installation.

“Richmond is recognized almost annually for their work in protecting the community, Reinard said. “From all that I’ve seen within DLA police and fire departments, these are the best.”

Also part of the DSCR Security and Emergency Services not seen, but paramount to the safe operation of the installation is the Security Services Branch.

The branch encompasses physical security, emergency management, antiterrorism, criminal intelligence, CBRNE, the Welcome Center and the Emergency Communication Center.

Security Services are the behind the scenes professionals that keep the installation safe from threats, said Milligan

“We liaison with other government agencies for the development of counterterrorism strategies with the Virginia State Police that is connected to a Joint Terrorism Task Force. We meet monthly to discuss threats to the commonwealth and then use that information to keep the center safe. The information is used for planning and training,” he said.

The branch is also responsible for ensuring every employee and visitor is given the access they need to get their mission accomplished every day. Security Services facilitates the events taking place for training and preparation for exercises at the center. 

“We have a dedicated team that is always hard at work,” he said. “We’re working all the time to make DSCR a safer place to work and providing the best customer support possible.”

Each quarter, Milligan’s team meets with the installation commander, briefs him on the state of the installation security and provides a classified brief about potential threats.

Security Services shares information that will benefit the community via the mass notification system. For example, when the active shooter exercise took place here in May, information about what was taking place and how to remain safe was sent to employees.

“Winter weather information is also disseminated via AtHoc,” Milligan said. “Employees not registered or needing assistance registering should contact the Security Services Branch to ensure they are getting the information.”

“We encourage people to be vigilant,” he said. “People know what is out of place in their office buildings and in their neighborhoods. Be aware and when in doubt notify authorities.”


Editor’s Note: This article is one in a series highlighting all the organizations and services DLA Installation Support at Richmond offers to DSCR customers. The next article will highlight support from the Safety Office.