SPECIAL TO THE DIGITAL EDITION
Emergency Response Plan An emergency response plan should be developed that outlines how you will respond to an incident. The written plan should include the following: pre-emergency plan- ning and coordination with outside parties; personnel roles, lines of authority, training, and communication; in- cident command; emergency recognition and preven- tion; safe distances and places of refuge; site security and control; evacuation routes and procedures; decontamina- tion; emergency medical treatment and first aid; emer- gency alerting and response procedure; critique of response and follow-up; personal protective equipment (PPE) and emergency equipment; coordination with local Fire, Police and Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC); and post-incident remediation and recovery.
• Who will address issues with OSHA? EPA? Department of Health? State Agencies? • What is my plan to address on-site/off-site issues?
There is no one correct answer to any of these questions, but once an accident occurs, there is little time to address these issues for the first time. For example, the best way to quickly procure response resources for an accidental chem- ical release is to already know who they are and how to mobilize them. Resources required for emergency re- sponse, if not already in place at the facility, may include resources to perform hazardous materials handling and cleanup; environmental monitoring (air, soil, water); site, public and worker health and safety; toxicology support; legal; claims; and regulatory compliance, among others.
The best way to quickly procure response resources for an accidental chemical release is to already know who they are and how to mobilize them. Identification of these resources in advance will maximize the quality of response and ensure that data collection and response to emerging issues ensues as quickly as possible.
Industrial hygienists should be prepared to answer the following questions: • Have I thoroughly evaluated my emergency response plan, and do I understand my course of action when a chemical emergency happens? • How do I know when the incident is insignificant? How do I know when it’s significant? • Can I quickly identify and notify response resources? • How am I managing my communication system regard- ing notification of authorities (EPA, OSHA, Fire Depart- ment)?
Identification of these resources in advance will maximize the quality of response and ensure that data collection and response to emerging issues ensues as quickly as possible.
Working with the Authorities Once a reportable chemical release has occurred, you have a finite period to notify the proper authorities. A mechanism should be in place to make those initial calls in a timely fashion. Another proactive method to improve emergency response is to make contact with the local fire department before an incident occurs. Meeting with local responders to go over the facility emergency response plan, locations of hazardous materials, site maps and