FEMA’s top secret Mt. Weather emergency site in Virginia needs an ongoing medical provider
FEMA's Mt. Weather
The Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center, in Mt. Weather, VA, which is owned and operated by FEMA, is thought to be a possible site where Washington, DC-based government VIPs might seek refuge during a major catastrophe to help maintain what is often called “Continuity of Government.”
Because many of its activities are deemed to be Top Secret, not much is known about the day-to-day working at Mt. Weather, and even less is known about the plans that would unfold in case of a dire emergency.
That is why a recent presolicitation notice issued by FEMA on July 8 sheds a bit of welcome light on one aspect of the emergency operations center’s day-to-day functioning. FEMA’s notice indicates that it is planning to issue a contract to a company that can provide a variety of medical services at Mt. Weather – in both normal times and “during emergencies where immediate transfer of patients is inhibited, medical staff and patients may be required to stay on-site.”
The notice explains that Mt. Weather is open 24 hours a day, every day, throughout the year. “Activities on-site include facility operations, data centers, communication hubs, and classified programs,” FEMA noted. “Operations are designed to continue without significant support from external entities.”
The presolicitation document points out that there are typically about 1,400 full-time personnel on site who might require medical attention. “However, the on-site population can expand significantly at times.” FEMA and Mt. Weather do not make it a habit to discuss various scenarios that might unfold in case of a major disaster or emergency.
Under normal circumstances, the chosen vendor would provide medical coverage Monday through Friday, from 7 am to 3:30 pm, but that could change dramatically at a moment’s notice. “During emergencies, staff must be able to respond within one hour of notification, and may be required to staff medical units 24 hours a day for an indefinite period of time without leaving the site, depending on the severity of the emergency,” says the presolicitation notice.
Much of the work at Mt. Weather is conducted in secret. “A Top Secret security facility clearance is required of the contractor and any subcontractors, and individual Top Secret clearances are required for all staff, both permanent and backup,” insists FEMA. A part of the medical work that would be performed under this contract would take place in a classified area that that requires a Top Secret security clearance to access.
FEMA indicated in its notice that the incumbent vendor on this contract is Executive Solutions, Inc., of Winchester, VA, which appears to be a service-disabled, veteran-owned business formed in 2007. FEMA expects to issue the formal RFP on or about July 26.
Further information is available from Kristin Wright, a contracting officer, at 540-542-5284 or [email protected].