Saturday, May 3, 2008

Designing Chemical Safety Models for Community Organizations

Abstract Title: Designing Chemical Safety Models for Community-based Organizations

Overview: Katrina and 9/11 highlighted the importance of planning for and preventing accidental and intentional releases as well as limiting the impact of natural disasters on all populations, but especially low income communities. While few could predict a hurricane like Katrina or a terrorist attack like 9/11, one can assess risks and vulnerabilities in local communities and develop appropriate mitigating protocols and procedures to reduce human health and ecological impacts.

Objectives: Provide the environmental justice community with useful tools to reduce the risk of chemical exposure resulting from natural disasters as well as accidental and intentional releases into the environment. Offer tools for increased collaboration between community-based organizations, state and local preparedness officials, and business and industry.

Methods: Using the Computer-Aided Management of Emergency Operations (CAMEO) suite and standard exercise tools, we will demonstrate the location of facilities, populations and other receptors, and how to limit the impacts of releases. CAMEO is a suite of software applications used widely to plan for and respond to chemical emergencies. It was developed by EPA’s Chemical Emergency Preparedness and Prevention Office (CEPPO) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of Response and Restoration to assist front-line chemical emergency planners and responders. CAMEO can be used to access, store, and evaluate information critical for developing emergency plans. In addition, CAMEO supports regulatory compliance by helping users meet the chemical inventory reporting requirements of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA, also known as SARA Title III) and Clean Air Act 112r.

Results: Provide attendees with useful tools to plan for, prevent and respond to chemical accidents and intentional releases.

Conclusions: Low income and minority populations can support and contribute to emergency preparedness consistent with ongoing environmental and public health planning exercises.

Deborah Brown, Chief, RCRA, EPCRA and Federal Programs, Environmental Protection Agency, Region I

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