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NASA Recognizes Jacobs Onsite Team with Silver Achievement Medal for Safety Actions at Santa Susana Field Laboratory

Jacobs’ site management team safely rounded up and accounted for 29 NASA-related staff for rapid evacuation during the early moments of the devastating Woolsey Canyon fire.

On November 8, 2018, a fire started in Woolsey Canyon, Calif. Powerful 40 to 50 mph Santa Ana winds with gusts to 60 mph caused the fire to spread rapidly and beyond firefighting capabilities on the Santa Susana Field Laboratory property.

Before it was brought under control, the Woolsey Fire – the worst wildfire in Los Angeles County’s modern history –  would burn 96,949 acres of land, destroy 1,643 structures, claim three lives and prompt the evacuation of more than 295,000 people in the surrounding greater Los Angeles area. 

This summer, Jacobs’ onsite staff at NASA’s Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL) – Randy Dean, Derek Miller, Roger Lucich and Phillip Reid – received NASA’s Silver Achievement Medal for their outstanding actions responding to the fire and safely evacuating 100% of personnel from NASA’s areas within minutes of the start of the fire in the fall of 2018.

The medals are awarded to government and non-government individuals or teams by NASA Center Directors for a stellar achievement that supports one or more of NASA's core values. Our awardees received their medals – and acknowledgement of the team’s superior performance and emergency response during the fire – from NASA leadership at SSFL, NASA Headquarters and the Marshall Space Flight Center.

Planning Efforts Pay Off During Woolsey Fire

One of Jacobs’ subcontractors first spotted the fire and quickly notified our team at SSFL. Our site manager immediately notified officials of the fire, and within the next 10 minutes, the quick action of Jacobs’ site management team allowed all 29 NASA-related staff to be safely rounded up, accounted for and evacuated from SSFL.

The successful evacuation was the result of a well-planned and practiced site-specific emergency response plan for the NASA facility at SSFL. The team conducts an annual evacuation drill for situations like the Woolsey Fire and was able to execute the plan smoothly during this crisis. Additionally, all staff and subcontractors that come to the site are briefed on all safety attributes of the plan, so they know what to do and who to communicate with in an emergency.

Beyond Zero®, our Culture of Caring

At Jacobs, we believe the wellbeing of our people, our clients and our subcontractors is fundamental to our success. Our passion for safety and our courage to care for one another and our environment inspires mutual respect. We’re driven by deep emotional commitment and active engagement which creates excellence in health, safety, security and sustainability. Learn more about our Culture of Caring here.

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