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CHAPTER 1 Overview of the Approach The approach detailed in this Guide walks you, an emergency planning organization official, through a prescribed process with discrete steps and outputs that combine to inform decision making about response planning for hazmat incidents. In following this Guide, you can: · Identify response capabilities and their locations (Chapter 2); · Define desired emergency response performance objectives specific to your jurisdiction (Chapter 3); · Identify any shortfalls in response capabilities based on the performance objectives selected (identified in Chapter 3 and carried into Chapter 8); · Identify the specific materials of concern located in or transported through your jurisdiction and the potential hazards they represent (Chapter 4); · Estimate the potential consequences from a release of the hazmat you identified (Chapter 5); · Establish the impacts of qualified emergency response and its proximity to the location of potential incidents (Chapter 6); · Assess how well response coverage aligns with the location and type of hazmat (Chapter 7); · Identify shortfalls in capabilities identified in the coverage, considering severity of release consequences (Chapter 8); · Make decisions about how to address specific shortfalls in response coverage (Chapter 9); and · Sustain the process over time (Chapter 10). Use of the Risk Assessment Tool A risk assessment tool, developed using Microsoft® Excel, has separate worksheet tabs for the steps outlined in the 10 chapters. This tool is designed to lead you through the assessment process using separate worksheets for most of the steps defined in this Guide. As described below, the process is designed to be thorough, yet flexible. The tool is designed to identify any shortfalls that result as you proceed through the process. The tool is available to emergency response planners on the attached CD-ROM. Balancing Assessment with Planning Capabilities of a Local Emergency Response Organization The capabilities of emergency response planning organizations vary greatly. Some have access to very detailed assessment tools at every fire station, and larger metropolitan areas have emergency response personnel with extensive training and experience in emergency response. Others are made up of volunteers with more than adequate emergency response training but little planning assessment capability. This Guide is designed to have sufficient flexibility to be usable by any organization, irrespective of their emergency response planning capabilities. The approach is 5
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6 A Guide for Assessing Community Emergency Response Needs and Capabilities for Hazardous Materials Releases designed to be comprehensive, yet flexible. For example, if you are in a state that certifies the Tier Response Level of emergency response teams, then Chapter 2 steps have already been sat- isfied and all that is required is to note the Tier Response Level. If your organization has estab- lished its Jurisdictional Response goals as outlined by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), then the steps in Chapter 3 can be quickly reviewed and the results noted. If there are shortfalls identified in Chapter 3, you may decide to satisfy the gap identified before proceed- ing with subsequent steps. Gaps identified at this stage will probably amplify in each succeed- ing step. The flexibility in the assessment process is probably best shown in the assessments outlined in Chapters 4 and 5. The text outlines an approach that attempts to comprehensively identify the hazmat in the region in Chapter 4, and then estimate the consequences of accidental materials in Chapter 5. In a comprehensive analysis, an attempt would be made to identify the classes/divisions of hazmat in the region without regard to the frequency of shipments. If the results of a thorough commodity flow survey are not available, the assessor can choose to analyze a smaller number of hazmat, perhaps considering the most commonly shipped material, typically Class 3 flammables, and then consider a suite of other classes/divisions that might have more severe consequences. For example, ammonia, a Class 2 gas, is typically transported in farming areas. Sulfuric acid, a Class 8 corrosive, may be common in urban areas. Areas with plants that produce or use highly hazardous chemicals would clearly want to select those chemicals for analysis. From year to year the response capabilities for different chemicals might be assessed. The Chapter 5 analyses might be a place where the greatest flexibility can be realized. The chapter outlines how you could estimate consequences using plume dispersion models. While many emergency responders have access to such tools and commonly use them, others do not. Those who do not can consult the scenarios used to develop the hazard distances in the 2008 American Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG 2008). Transport Canada developed an inter- active version of that guidebook (ERGO 2008) that is very easy to use. It skips a few of the materials that would not be transported in Canada, such as chemical agents, but if those materials were present in a region, they would likely be handled as a special case and not by this planning guide. The point is, the consequences of a release often can be specified without going through all the effort required to develop a plume dispersion model. Appendix A provides a list and description of many useful information sources. Subsequent chapters go through the responses to the hazardous material spills selected in Chapter 4 and whose consequences were estimated in Chapter 5. Once the incidents have been identified, the questions in Chapters 6 through 8 address response capabilities for those selected spills. These should be relatively straightforward to address. The spreadsheet tool helps fill out the assessment results once the local response capabilities have been entered. Chapter 4 ties the entire analysis together. The assessment results are based on the risk equation, which is defined and described later in Chapter 1. One more term is added, vulnerability, described in Appendix B. Like the consequences, the description of the vulnerability estimation process in Appendix B is comprehensive. You have the option to estimate the frequency of a spill based on experience. For example, experience might show that the area will experience three or four flam- mable liquid spills a year. Experience should always trump analysis when estimating vulner- abilities. The example is intended to help with the less commonly shipped materials. Rather than showing all the estimated annual shipment mileage in the region, you could simply estimate the likelihood of a release to be one or more orders of magnitude below that of the flammable liquid spill. There are several ways of using the summary results shown in Chapter 4. Since the risk equa- tion is the product of the numbers in all the columns, columns with high numbers for all sce-