The Volpentest Hazardous Materials Management and Emergency Response (HAMMER) Federal Training Center provides best-in-class safety and health training for workers and emergency responders who protect and safeguard the public and the environment. HAMMER has been recognized by the Secretary of Energy for Best Practices in collaboration, site-wide safety standards, subject matter expertise, safety training programs, safety culture, and for its world-class facility. HAMMER serves as an intricate network of partnerships between Department of Energy (DOE) management, three Tribal governments, International Union General Presidents and local Union Council Presidents, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Environmental Protection Agency, Occupational Health and Safety Administration, Department of Transportation, Department of Homeland Security, the states of Oregon and Washington, academia, DOE contractors, and Labor representation from the United Kingdom.
Located on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeastern Washington State, HAMMER is owned by DOE and operated by Mission Support Alliance. HAMMER was dedicated in 1997 with the primary mission to train the DOE's Hanford workers and emergency responders on hazardous materials handling, environmental, health and safety courses, and emergency response.
The expansive 88-acre campus is comprised of specialty training areas with the most extensive selection of training props in the country. Training props can be configured to create a variety of realistic situations including industrial and nuclear hazards, worksite scenarios, emergency response, incident command, and hazardous materials training. For example, students are challenged with interchangeable mazes and hidden dangers to learn search and rescue methods. Hands-on training is complemented by advanced classrooms incorporating the latest in technology.
The concept of HAMMER began with a goal of having one Hanford central training facility to provide improved and standardized training to the emergency responders and cleanup workers. In a partnership that has become a model throughout the nation, management joined forces with organized labor to build the facility. HAMMER has since been recognized as “the single most important partnership between Labor and Management in the country,” by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.
The relationship between HAMMER and the labor unions has resulted in a strong Worker Trainer Program. Many HAMMER classes are taught by Hanford worker trainers who have demonstrated their expertise through successfully completing work in the field and are willing to share this experience as instructors. Worker trainers return to the job site and work side-by-side with their coworkers in a mentor-mentee relationship ensuring best work practices are implemented in the field.
In 2002, HAMMER achieved Star status in DOE’s Voluntary Protection Program which has been retained each year due to its outstanding safety culture. HAMMER has since received awards such as the Star of Excellence, Superior Star, and Legacy of Star.
The HAMMER campus also provides hands-on practice and real-world experience for non-Hanford customers including fire departments, law enforcement agencies, military, and emergency responders. HAMMER develops and provides web-based training for programs such as the Department of Transportation’s Rail Incident Preparedness and Response Program. HAMMER uses its robust collection of subject matter experts to help safeguard the nation and world through its national programs. Various programs include energy response, hazardous materials prevention and response, and non-proliferation and detection. The HAMMER model benefits external customers by providing a response ready force prepared with tools and hands-on training to face national and international response challenges.
For more information about the HAMMER Federal Training Center please visit https://hammer.hanford.gov/.