Ammunition. Soldiers depend on it to complete their missions, but if it is not stored properly it can cause fatal damage. A tool used to assist with storing ammunition safely, is explosives safety site planning. Explosives safety site plans are required by Department of Defense 6055.9-STD and Department of Army Pamphlet 385.64.and are used to mitigate the risk involved in ammunition storage and help ensure required ammunition is available to the warfighter.

"Site planning can be very time-consuming and complicated, so to help with efficiency, Explosives Safety Siting (ESS) software was developed to automate the process," said Lyn Little, Logistics Management Specialist with the United States Army Technical Center for Explosives Safety (USATCES).

The ESS development effort began in the 1992-1993 timeframe and is a collaborative effort between personnel from Department of Defense Explosives Safety Board (DDESB), Air Force Safety Center, Naval Ordnance Safety and Security Activity, Marine Corps System Command, and USATCES. The Naval Facilities Engineering Service Center (NFESC) manages the ESS program and serves as the central design authority on behalf of DDESB and the Services.

The concept behind ESS software is to use existing installation mapping data in the form of a computer system that is capable of capturing, storing, analyzing, and displaying geographically referenced information. This information is then combined with an installation's real property inventory and explosives safety data. Real property data used by ESS includes building numbers and descriptions as well as facility category codes. The explosives safety data consists of a listing of potential explosion sites that identifies the sited net explosive weight for all hazard divisions, building number, and a listing of the types of buildings (operating building, earthcovered magazine, aboveground magazine).

In October 2007, ESS implementation started at 14 Army ammunition plants and depots throughout the Joint Munitions Command. "The first step in this process is for installations to provide the required information to NFESC for analysis," said Little. "Analysis is conducted by NFESC, because virtually every installation has inconsistencies that need to be corrected." The project is currently on schedule for completion in September 2009 and will help safety professionals focus more time on other important safety responsibilities.