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PT Notes

Executive Order Status Report - Strengthening Community Planning and Preparedness

PTNotes is a series of topical technical notes provided periodically by Primatech for your benefit. Please feel free to provide feedback.

Executive Order 13650, Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security, was issued on August 1, 2013 owing to continued catastrophic chemical facility incidents. The Executive Order has the objective of enhancing the safety and security of chemical facilities and reducing risks associated with hazardous chemicals to owners and operators, workers, and communities. A Working Group was appointed to oversee work on the Executive Order.

The Working Group published a status report on June 6, 2014. An analysis of the current operating environment, existing regulatory programs, and stakeholder feedback resulted in immediate actions and a plan for future actions to further minimize risks, organized by five thematic areas:

• Strengthening Community Planning and Preparedness
• Enhancing Federal Operational Coordination
• Improving Data Management
• Modernizing Policies and Regulations
• Incorporating Stakeholder Feedback and Developing Best Practices

This PTNote addresses Strengthening Community Planning and Preparedness. Several issues were identified:

• Stakeholders noted that many of the Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs) do not have the capabilities to conduct emergency planning and require training and resources, which has made it difficult for industry and others to engage in planning with LEPCs.

• State and local officials identified the need for access to timely, usable, understandable information from facilities and the Federal Government for emergency response planning, land use planning, and identification of potentially noncompliant facilities.

• Community members expressed concern about a perceived lack of effective communication from industry partners regarding incidents and general facility safety performance.

• Additional concerns were shared by community members regarding local plans to shelter in place, evacuate, or relocate during an incident as well as recovery support to include consideration of community members with chronic special medical needs or those facing socioeconomic challenges.

• Communities adjacent to multiple facilities raised concerns regarding the failure to address the specific vulnerabilities of lower-income communities, including environmental justice considerations.

The Working Group took a number of actions to address these issues, including:

• Engaging with LEPCs and first responders across the country to identify and discuss potential methods to increase first responder preparedness and to share lessons learned across departments.

• Upgrading the Computer-Aided Management of Emergency Operations (CAMEO) suite to provide more useful and accurate information to emergency personnel and the public.

• Educating State Administrative Agencies on how the Homeland Security Grant Program allows risk-centric, capabilities-based planning and preparedness training for chemical incidents.

The Working Group identified five priority action areas to help strengthen community planning and preparedness, to include:

• Strengthening State Emergency Response Commissions (SERCs) and LEPCs,

• Improving first responder and emergency management preparedness and response training.

• Identifying and coordinating resources for SERCs and LEPCs to sustain planning and response efforts.

• Expanding tools to assist SERCs and LEPCs in collecting, storing, and using chemical facility information.

• Enhancing awareness and increasing information sharing with communities around chemical facilities.

The Working Group report is available at: https://www.osha.gov/chemicalexecutiveorder/

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