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Monday, March 17, 2003
Heads Of Executive Departments And Agencies
Kay Coles James, Director

This is to make you aware of two important guides the Office of Personnel Management has made available today to provide Federal employees and managers with information on general steps they can take to protect themselves from a potential biological, chemical or radiological attack. The guides, which also spell out the responsibilities of the Federal Government and individual agencies to protect employees in the event of an emergency, can be found at our web address, While no single publication can inform the Federal workforce about all contingencies that are in place Governmentwide, these guides are an important addition to your efforts to educate managers and employees.

In developing these two guides, we worked in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security to coordinate input from subject matter experts across a wide spectrum of the Federal Government (see the acknowledgements section below). These individuals and organizations have made significant contributions in the attempt to consolidate the preparedness information that is generally available and apply that information to the unique Federal work environment. The real work to prepare for an incident is underway at each agency, including the evaluation and development of agency Occupant Emergency Plans. These guides are intended to provide basic information to supplement the efforts you have already taken to make your employees aware of agency-specific measures you have in place to ensure their safety. Agencies may also want to contact the Federal Protective Service to conduct threat assessments for their facilities to determine any other measure that would be helpful to ensure employee safety.

Along those lines, the manager's guide — while written mostly for the line manager — should be useful to agency senior managers to ensure that their agency has taken all appropriate steps to protect employees. We are also in the final stages of developing a Family Resource Guide, designed for families of Federal employees, which will also be released shortly. Agencies will be contacted to place orders for printed versions of all three guides through the Government Printing Office rider system.

I would like to thank the many experts that contributed to these guides, and both encourage each agency's management team to review them from the standpoint of their own readiness efforts and to make their employees aware of them.

cc: Human Resources Management Council