Workers at the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant have safely completed more than 10,000 entries into toxic maintenance areas of the plant while wearing Demilitarization Protective Ensemble gear.
“Ten thousand entries show efficiency and accountability as well as keeps our promise to create a better world that is free of chemical weapons,” said Ezra Maldonado, Entry Support Area tender, PCAPP. Maldonado, along with waste entry operator Felicia Clark, completed the milestone entry.
The entry process requires extensive and meticulous procedures. It begins with the team gathering for a pre-entry briefing to discuss in detail entry procedures and mission goals. Once the team understands the shared goals of the mission, Entry Support Area tenders assist those entering to properly suit up.
“Every entry is a milestone for me, but 10,000 entries are a milestone for demilitarization,” Clark said. “It means a lot to me that I am able to be a part of PCAPP history as well as demilitarization history.”
Demilitarization Protective Ensemble entries are required when hands-on tasks must take place in potentially toxic areas. Worker safety includes a pre-entry physical for entrants, testing of breathing and communications systems, and detection and decontamination of the most minute vapor of mustard agent on suits.
“I’m so proud of the men and women of PCAPP who collectively have achieved this significant milestone,” said Kim Jackson, plant manager. “It takes an entire team to pull this off, from the entrants themselves to the dressers, backups, entry oversight and subject matter experts who maintain the equipment.”