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Arizona Radiation Regulatory Agency (ARRA)

Arizona Radiation Regulatory Agency

Phoenix, Arizona

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The Challenge

ISG™ local Dealer Multicard was presented with the task of providing an emergency management solution for the Arizona Radiation Regulatory Agency (ARRA). ARRA needed a system with an incident record to track and monitor subsequent entries. Also, identification technology with barcodes was needed to to keep track of local responders, volunteers and participants form federal agencies. The solution was put to the test recently in a full scale exercise of emergency management preparedness for the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station. Conducted by ARRA as part of its ongoing emergency response program, the mock incident held at the Buckeye Airport just outside the power station was designed to test the plans, policies and procedures for emergency response in the event of a radiation incident at the nuclear facility.

Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station (PVNGS) is the largest nuclear generation facility in the United States, located in the Arizona desert about 45 miles west of central Phoenix. The plant is a major source of power for Phoenix and Southern California, capable of serving about four million people and providing approximately 35% of the electricity generated in Arizona each year.


The Solution

Multicard managed the development and integration of individual components for the emergency management system developed for ARRA, which included software and the Mobile Command Kit from ISG Partner Elliott Data Systems.

For the PVNGS exercise, an incident record was set up in the system so that all subsequent entries could be tracked and monitored. Next, local first responders were checked in as they arrived by scanning their photo IDs into the system and volunteers and participants from federal agencies were issued photo IDs with barcodes on the spot. Participants were then assigned to specific response areas such as Hot Line, ARRA Control, and various field teams. In addition, thermoluminescent dosimeter (TLD) cards, which are worn to measure ambient radiation exposure, were also scanned into the system to allow tracking of the device to the individual to whom it was issued, as well as to provide a secondary form of identification.

"The toughest challenge in putting together the emergency management solution for ARRA is the fact that first responders to a potential radiation incident come from numerous local, state and federal agencies, all of which have their own procedures and guidelines. We were able to create a custom solution for ARRA that addressed the unique challenges of collecting and tracking data from multiple agencies," said Bob McDowell, Business Development Manager for Multicard.

The exercise included a mobile lab set up just outside the test area. Air, water and ground samples were collected inside the test incident area and ID barcodes were attached to each sample, which was then sent to the mobile lab for analysis. Milk from nearby dairy farms was also sampled in order to test the process for evaluating the safety of local food supplies, in the event of an actual radiation incident. Capturing and documenting this environmental data allowed ARRA to establish a reportable chain of custody for all collected samples that is in compliance with federal regulations.


The Results

"Multicard has been an important support partner for ARRA in developing our integrated emergency management system. They have helped us develop a system that is both logical and flexible to use, which at the same time ensures our compliance with complex regulatory requirements," said Toby Morales, Emergency Response Manager for the Arizona Radiation Regulatory Agency. "In our recent exercise, Multicard's training and support helped us to gather valuable information about how we can continue to improve upon the processes and procedures that are already in place. Multicard has helped ARRA become a model agency for similar response agencies throughout the US."

"The solution that we are providing enables ARRA to manage personnel and equipment at an emergency scene efficiently and securely so that resources can be quickly mobilized, added Steve Benitez, Business Development Manager for Multicard. "It also tracks all resources, assets and environmental samples throughout the event for real-time deployment and post-incident reporting and analysis."