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Keesler accomplishes milestone in managing environmental risks

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. (AETCNS) -- Keesler officials declared the completion of the Environmental, Safety and Occupational Health Management System here June 12.

This important milestone puts the base in step with an Air Force-wide initiative to proactively manage all environmental risks and incorporate an overall system that integrates environmental, safety, occupational health concerns and issues across all installations.

"Our vision is to ensure Keesler is committed to excellence, leadership and stewardship in protecting the environment, safety and occupational health issues on and off the installation," said Brig. Gen. Paul Capasso, 81st Training Wing commander.

In January 2001, the secretary of the Air Force and chief of staff issued a joint memorandum directing the creation and implementation of an Air Force-wide ESOHMS.

Keesler's original deadline of Dec. 31 was extended for six months due to Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts. Thirty elements outlined in the Air Force's environmental management system policy and guidance have been accomplished.

"An EMS is a set of management processes and procedures that allows an organization to analyze, control and reduce the environmental impact of its activities, products and services and operate with greater efficiency and control," said Richard Guillen, 81st Civil Engineer Squadron pollution prevention manager.

Keesler is dedicated to providing all assigned personnel the proper awareness training to ensure the completion of their individual missions while protecting themselves and the environment, Mr. Guillen said.

"Understanding and implementing the Keesler ESOHMS principles allows for the enhancement of an individual's core values which affect beliefs and attitudes relevant to environmental policy," he said.

Mr. Guillen said it's important to be proactive about environmental issues because they affect economic, social, political and aesthetic factors at individual, local, regional, national and transnational levels.

"It's each individual's responsibility to be the best of the best in all aspects of our operations," he said. "Each Keesler team member shall have every intention to produce the highest quality product while being responsible and proactive in environmental issues."

General Capasso said Keesler will create a cross-functional team of installation decision makers that will be committed to reducing the base's environmental footprint, increasing mission safety and protecting the health of everyone working or living on the installation while ensuring the mission is always met.

"Now Keesler moves forward in conforming to all EMS elements," Mr. Guillen said. "A fully-implemented EMS serves as the starting point toward continual improvement in environmental management."

All Keesler personnel are required to take EMS awareness training.
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