Already, sensors that are part of Oak Ridge National Laboratory's SensorNet are deployed in Nashville, Knoxville and Oak Ridge, and in other parts of the nation. Additional sensors are planned for Memphis, Chattanooga and Sullivan County in Upper East Tennessee. ORNL project managers envision more being added in the next few years, eventually spanning the state with sensors that would alert emergency responders and the public if they were in danger of being exposed to water or airborne hazards.
Frank Libutti, the Department of Homeland Security's under secretary for Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection, was in Nashville today to see first hand how the system works. Also attending the demonstration were several homeland security advisers from neighboring states.
John Strand, project manager for ORNL's SensorNet program, hopes the presentation builds additional momentum for the project.
"We were able to provide Mr. Libutti and other homeland security advisers responsible for protecting the public with an overview of SensorNet, explain the benefits and answer a lot of questions," Strand said. "And seeing scenarios unfold helped drive home the importance of SensorNet to the nation."
The event was coordinated by Jerry Humble, director of the Tennessee Office of Homeland Security, which has designated the Department of Energy's ORNL as its technology partner.
SensorNet, which is being developed to provide near real-time detection, identification and assessment of chemical, biological and radiological threats, will allow informed first responders to be dispatched within minutes of an event.