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Joint Task Force-Red Hill Statement on Safety of Personnel

23-001 | Oct. 12, 2023

HONOLULU, Hawaii —

Joint Task Force-Red Hill (JTF-RH) is aware of recent safety concerns expressed by the community. We are reassured that the community takes the safety of our team as seriously as we do. The safety of our service members, civilian employees, and contractors working within the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility (RHBFSF) has always been our top priority. We have adhered to all state and federal regulations, and have taken extra precautionary measures to reduce risk and ensure the safety of all personnel working in the RHBFSF, especially during defueling operations.

Within JTF-RH, our Quality Assurance (QA) and Safety Directorate routinely assess all aspects of Red Hill defueling operations to ensure best safety practices are implemented. The QA staff consists of an Environmental Health Officer, Quality Auditor, Occupational Health Physician, Industrial Hygiene/Safety Officer, Engineering Contract Auditor, and Occupational Health/Safety non-commissioned officer.

As we prepare for the start of defueling on Monday, October 16th, we want to take a moment to highlight key safety measures we have undertaken within the facility:

Emergency evacuation of the tunnel is codified in the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility (RHBFSF) Response Plan and describes emergency evacuation procedures.

Emergency Evacuation Zone maps are available at the tunnel. They depict all egress routes by zone as well as assembly areas.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations require a written Emergency Action Plan (EAP) be available in the workplace to instruct employees on emergency response. The RHBFSF Emergency Response Plan updated in August 2023 meets this requirement.

The Federal Fire Department (Fed Fire) is responsible for providing fire and emergency services to military installations on Oahu, with firefighting capabilities similar to civilian fire departments. Fed Fire is positioned at Red Hill to provide 24-hour coverage and to respond within five minutes of any reported emergency. Fed Fire developed a robust response plan to quickly address fire, spill, and medical emergencies occurring at the RHBFSF. Firefighters completed incident pre-planning activities, response exercises, communications checks, and pre-staged firefighting equipment. Fed Fire briefed the Honolulu Fire Department and facilitated pre- planning visits to RHBFSF in the event future support is required.

The military Roving Security and Fire Watch (RSFW) team provides 24-hour monitoring in the RHBFSF. The RSFW team provides a critical layer of initial response and reporting of incidents in the RHBFSF. That, in conjunction with the existing sprinkler system, staged and portable firefighting equipment and FedFire coverage, provide a comprehensive emergency response structure for the RHBFSF.

To perform their duties, the RSFW completed training requirements in accordance with Navy and National Fire Protection Act codes and standards. Training included vertical egress procedures, limited visibility, CPR, first aid, and multi-gas detector, thermal imager, self-contained breathing apparatuses (SCBAs), and Emergency Escape Breathing Device utilization, care, and maintenance. A final comprehensive training event was conducted with FedFire with a focus on donning of safety equipment and departure from the facility in degraded conditions.

Safety specialists from multiple commands perform routine walkthroughs of the Red Hill facility and provide full oversight and support during all major operations. Additionally, this team meets weekly, conducts monthly walkthroughs, and holds unannounced inspections to ensure protective measures are in place.

The Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) requirements for entering the RHBFSF are mandated and documented to ensure our personnel are protected. The memorandum details minimum PPE requirements inside the facility, minimizing risk to individuals, equipment, and the overall mission.

Our Occupational Health physician works with safety specialists to conduct Industrial Hygiene surveys to determine the need for JTF-RH personnel to participate in follow-on medical monitoring programs.

JTF-RH continues to ensure the safe defueling of Red Hill by conducting audits of operations, training, equipment, safety programs, and performance. We are steadfast in our commitment to protect our employees.

JTF-Red Hill is committed to working with regulators and government stakeholders to ensure Red Hill is defueled safely, expeditiously, and in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.

For more information about JTF-RH, visit or downloads the App by searching for “JTF–Red Hill” in the Apple App store or Google Play store.

  • JTF-RH Public Affairs
  • Phone:(808) 501-8320

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