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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, June 22, 2004
Contact: Brenda Bertrand
Tel: 202-606-2402

Increased Level of Interest as OPM Prepares for Sixth Emergency Preparedness Training

To Date 142 agencies and 605 individuals have been trained at OPM forums

Washington, DC - The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) reports a heightened interest among agency leaders and managers in all facets of emergency planning and preparedness, in response to deficiencies identified by the OPM Workplace Security Survey late this spring. The agency will conduct the sixth in a series of Emergency Preparedness Forums on June 24, 2004 at OPM's Theodore Roosevelt Headquarters Building in Washington, DC, to assist agencies in focusing on areas where the survey indicated the greatest room for improvement.

This year's survey revealed that agencies have made significant improvements by updating emergency plans, and communicating and training employees about plans already in place. However, assessments indicated room for improvement in the areas of practicing regular emergency drills and formulating policy regarding the use of telework during an emergency.

As a result, the Washington D.C. forum will focus on planning for, executing and evaluating shelter-in-place and evacuation drills, as well as making telework a critical part of an agencies' ability to continue operations during an emergency.

OPM Director Kay Coles James stated, "We believe these forums serve as a basis to help agencies focus on a vital part of their mission; to protect and ensure the safety of their employees - while identifying and addressing the deficiencies identified in the survey. This is a proactive approach guaranteed to ensure that agencies governmentwide are ready should a natural or man made disaster occur."

OPM has already conducted five forums in Washington D.C., New York and Boston. To date, not including the forum to be held on June 24, 605 individuals representing 142 agencies have been trained.

While OPM and the General Services Administration (GSA) have been providing information, guidance and training in support of agency telework programs for several years, the forums provide a unique opportunity to reach agency personnel actively involved in emergency planning and preparedness.

"OPM's message about integrating telework programs with continuity of operations is beginning to resonate with the agencies as they recognize that there is another valuable tool at their disposal as they make their emergency plans increasingly effective," James said.

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Our mission is to Recruit, Retain and Honor a World-Class Workforce to Serve the American People. OPM supports U.S. agencies with personnel services and policy leadership including staffing tools, guidance on labor-management relations and programs to improve work force performance.


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