Module 5: Federal, State, and Local Government Emergency Management Regulations and Programs
In this module, we discuss the programs that various levels of government have available to support the field of emergency management. Some programs support efforts to develop effective contingency plans and area and local emergency response plans and their implementation. They also provide funding for equipping and training the emergency response community to become more proficient in handling specific types of emergencies.
Office of Technology Assessment
Following the disasters in Bhopal, India, and in Chernobyl, the U.S. Congress asked the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) to determine the readiness of U.S. emergency services to handle hazardous materials emergencies. The OTA report, Transportation of Hazardous Materials Summary (July 1986), found that the emergency response services lacked training in handling hazardous materials emergencies. According to the report,
· less than a quarter of the police and fire emergency services have received adequate training to address a hazardous materials emergency
· most local emergency response forces have insufficient financial resources to take advantage of available training
· a national strategy to provide hazardous materials emergency response training to local and regional personnel at either the basic or advanced levels is an urgent national priority
As a result of this OTA report and others, the federal government initiated efforts to enhance the training of the emergency response community through grants, model training programs, and other measures. Since 9/11, the federal government has improved significantly its commitment to assist state and local emergency responders.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
EPA provides a number of educational documents to inform employers, employees, and citizens of their rights and obligations under the laws and regulations it administers. The EPA Risk Management Program is one good example. The National Safety Council's Environmental Health Center, in cooperation with EPA, has developed several booklets to educate the public about chemical hazards in their communities and how to help plan for them. Two of these booklets are:
1. Guides to Chemical Risk Management—What Makes a Hazard Hazardous: Working with Chemical Information (EPA 1999)
2. Guides to Chemical Risk Management—Chemical Safety in Your Community: EPA's New Risk Management Program (EPA 1999)
For additional information on chemical safety in the community, go to the EPA Web site and search for LEPC or chemical emergency preparedness and prevention or CEPPO (see the Relevant URLs list in the Additional Information section of the syllabus).
The Risk Management Program rule requires that facilities it covers develop worst-case scenarios for a chemical release, but politicians and others fear that terrorists could use this information. The original purpose of worst-case scenarios was to help local emergency planning and response committees to be better prepared by planning for such events. It was also hoped that facilities would learn to conduct their business so as to prevent such events.
Today, EPA is working with local authorities and others to ensure that only authorized organizations and individuals can gain access to the worst-case scenarios and that the information is not released to the public at large. EPA, in cooperation with state and local authorities, has established federal reading rooms in every state where printed copies of the worst-case scenarios and related offsite consequences analysis can be reviewed. To keep this information from terrorist organizations, these paper copies may not be removed, photocopied, or otherwise reproduced, although note taking is allowed. For additional information on these reading rooms, go to the EPA Web site (see the Relevant URLs list in the Additional Information section of the syllabus).
EPA has also developed a variety of documents to help facility owners better understand their obligations in preventing emergencies, plan and develop contingency plans for those types of emergencies they anticipate could occur, and interface their plans with the local emergency planning committee’s plans for the community.
EPA has provided industry guidance for a variety of facilities covered under the Risk Management Program such as ammonia refrigeration plants, propane storage facilities, and others. For more information on the EPA outreach to help facilities comply with the Risk Management Program rule, go to the EPA Web site and search for RMP or your topic of interest.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
OSHA has published and made available to the public its field enforcement directives to its field staff, as well as several booklets to help organizations and employers that are developing contingency plans and want to ensure that they are meeting the relevant mandatory OSHA standards. OSHA has provided further guidance on its Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response standard (HAZWOPER) 29 CFR 1910.120 through its directives CPL 02-02-071 and CPL 02-02-073, addressing emergency planning. Two booklets that are helpful are:
1. Fire Service Features of Buildings and Fire Protection Systems (2006)
2. Preparing and Protecting Security Personnel in Emergencies (2007)
OSHA was required by the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 to issue its Process Safety Management standard (PSM) as EPA was required to issue its Risk Management Program rule (RMP), as has been stated earlier. EPA has developed several booklets on its Risk Management Plan and Program (RMP) regulation. Some of the EPA Web sites present information that directly addresses this regulation. The booklets will also help you understand the OSHA Process Safety Management (PSM) standard because EPA has adopted the OSHA PSM rule into its own rule, calling it EPA Program 3. This Program 3 is the most stringent level of regulation of the EPA RMP rule, and the EPA guidance would also help you understand the OSHA PSM rule. OSHA, too, has published helpful guidance on its PSM rule and some field directives, including CPL 02-02-045 and CPL 2-2.45A. These EPA and OSHA guidance documents will be helpful to those preparing contingency plans and emergency response procedures for facilities that are affected or covered by these regulations.
OSHA has revised its Hazcom standard to be compatible with the UN transport safety requirements for classification of chemicals/materials and for labeling and warnings on chemical packaging. OSHA has now adopted the 16-section format for all safety data sheets for use in worker training. There are new criteria for describing various types of hazards when workers or emergency responders are exposed to such chemical hazards. The revised Hazcom standard is found in 29 CFR 1910.1200, as was mentioned in module 2.
For more information on PSM, HAZWOPER, and Hazcom compliance issues, go to the OSHA Web site, click the Enforcement tab, and search for the directive of interest.
U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)
As a result of the OTA study discussed earlier, the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act was revised to include a fee schedule that was implemented by DOT to provide funds for the Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness (HMEP) grants program. This program supports hazardous material emergency response planning and training activities and related measures conducted by states, local governments, and Indian tribes. Congress had intended that over 14 million dollars would be made available annually from this grant program, but in early 2003, DOT had to make adjustments to the fee schedule to assure this funding.
Amendments to this act require DOT to also develop a training curriculum to accompany the HMEP training grants. An assessment tool must accompany the curriculum to better assure that public-sector employees can respond safely and effectively to hazardous materials emergencies. The curriculum guidelines were developed in cooperation with DOT, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and others.
FEMA processes the grants to the states. These grants must be spent on training those public employees involved with prevention efforts, emergency response planning, and emergency response operations. The curriculum has been developed to ensure that the public emergency responders who take this training are better able to meet the OSHA, EPA, and DOT emergency planning and response training levels as stated in their regulations. It is also written to meet the relevant National Fire Protection Association standards addressing emergency response to hazardous materials events, while also meeting the requirements of Presidential Directive No. 5 and the NIMS.
Department of Energy (DOE)
DOE has developed a program to remove hazardous transuranic waste from temporary storage sites around the country to a permanent site at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad, New Mexico. Transuranic waste consists of clothing, tools, equipment, and other such items that have been used in research and other activities over the years that are contaminated with trace amounts of man-made radioactive elements, mostly plutonium, uranium, and so on. No high-level waste or spent nuclear fuel is included in this waste. Most of this waste comes from DOE and Department of Defense research facilities that have been storing it on their sites.
The best way of moving this waste is in Trupact-II containers on trucks. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has certified these containers, and they have passed a rigorous testing protocol to demonstrate their ability to contain the waste under extreme accident conditions.
In 1988, DOE initiated an emergency-response training program to prepare for the beginning of shipments in 1999. The program was offered at no cost to emergency response personnel along the routes upon which the waste would be shipped to New Mexico. The WIPP legislation required this training program, and OSHA had to approve the curriculum before it could be offered more widely.
OSHA assured that the program would help meet its requirements for hazardous materials emergency response. The training focused on ways of avoiding ionizing radiation and related incidents, a major concern of DOE. DOE has covered the cost of training thousands of emergency responders under this program. The shipments of more than 83,000 containers made to date have experienced no major incidents. For additional information, go to the DOE Web site and search for WIPP.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which includes FEMA, distributes grants to state and local governments to enhance the emergency preparedness of first responders to potential terrorist incidents. Grant monies are used to develop emergency response plans and to purchase needed equipment, supplies, and training to handle terrorist incidents.
DHS includes the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), which is the co-chair for the National Contingency Plan, and DHS maintains the National Response Framework document. FEMA is the lead agency for DHS in carrying out emergency response work under the Robert T. Stafford Act. For more information on the DHS programs and grant program, go to the DHS Web site and search for your topic of interest.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is the research arm for OSHA and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). NIOSH is the approval agency for testing and certifying respirators for inhalation protection that are used to meet OSHA and MSHA requirements. NIOSH has developed chemical data information sources on its Web site, and it has established the Emergency Response Safety and Health Database to assist emergency responders and emergency planners in their work. This emergency response database covers biotoxins, blister agents, nerve agents, lung-damaging agents, and many other substances. For more information on NIOSH, go to its Web site and search for Emergency Response Safety and Health Database, or for other topics of interest.
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
A small agency within the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the Department of Health and Human Services, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) supports the emergency response community in a number of areas involving medical care and air contaminant sampling and analysis. ATSDR has:
· sent teams to assist with the emergency response to bioterrorism incidents
· published medical management guidelines for mass casualties, including recommendations for on-scene emergency care, pre-hospital care, and hospital medical management of patients exposed to hazardous materials
· worked with others to develop additional medical management guidelines
· assisted the CDC emergency operations center
· worked through the federal regional response teams and the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps Readiness Force to assist state and local emergency response operations
· developed disaster response training documents and videos based on lessons learned from actual incidents to assist local communities in developing more effective disaster planning documents
· developed an emergency medical planning guide, hospital emergency planning guide for contaminated patients, and other supporting videos and documents
ATSDR provides technical assistance to community emergency planners in designing, implementing, and evaluating realistic scenarios to test emergency response plans and contingency plans. Such assistance is usually aimed at hospital emergency staffs, on-scene emergency medical care professionals, public health officials, and hazardous materials response teams.
After the World Trade Center disasters, ATSDR helped the New York City Department of Health sample the air and dust in residences in lower Manhattan. It developed a draft sampling plan and conducted the technical review of the analytical results from the sampling efforts to determine whether city residents were being exposed to harmful substances. For more information on these environmental testing efforts in lower Manhattan, go to the ATSDR Web site (see the Relevant URLs list in the Additional Information section of the syllabus).
ATSDR is just one of many agencies within the CDC. It and the Public Health Service play the lead roles for the Department of Health and Human Services in helping and cooperating with the other federal agencies in supporting emergency planning and response efforts to WMD events and other national medical emergencies like the SARS, West Nile Virus, and influenza emergencies.
The flow of federal funds to state and local governments has encouraged the development of contingency plans, the assessment of the vulnerabilities of various buildings and public assembly areas, and the equipping and training of first responder units to better handle potential terrorist and other events. These funds enable local emergency response units to purchase:
· thermal imagers to better locate hot spots in buildings and structures during fire or bomb emergencies
· test kits for nerve agents, gas monitors for oxygen and carbon monoxide, and other gear
· hazardous materials response trailers equipped with chemical-resistant suits, respirators, and other appropriate equipment that could be needed in an emergency response to a hazardous material or WMD incident
· bomb-detecting robots and bomb suits for personnel
We will now discuss some emergency planning and preparedness programs in Maryland and New Jersey to give you an idea of what states are doing in the field.
The governor of Maryland established an Office of Homeland Security within the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) to serve as the direct liaison to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and to coordinate with all state departments and agencies and local jurisdictions responsible for homeland security and emergency preparedness. This office is involved with the Maryland Terrorism Forum, which includes representatives from the major Maryland state agencies such as the state police and the departments of health, environment, and transportation, as well as MEMA.
The office, coordinating with the federal Office of Domestic Preparedness, offers training to emergency response organizations in Maryland and distributes federal grant monies to hazardous materials teams throughout the state. For more information on Maryland's homeland security efforts, go to the Maryland state Web site.
Working with local authorities, MEMA has developed disaster evacuation plans and procedures for hurricanes and other emergencies. It has provided to Maryland citizens hazard-awareness information on a variety of nature-caused disasters such as floods, tornadoes, and fires. It also provides emergency management alerts and preparedness information and serves as the liaison with FEMA. For more information on MEMA, go to its Web site (see the Relevant URLs list in the Additional Information section of the syllabus).
New Jersey Programs
The State Police, the Office of Emergency Management, and the Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Planning Unit in New Jersey cooperated to develop model training programs for various levels of emergency response competency. They have developed two levels of training for first responders to WMD events. The first level of training focuses on awareness, and the second focuses on operations. They have also developed model training programs for New Jersey hazardous materials emergency response that include the awareness, operations, and technician levels.
These courses are being used statewide to help standardize the level of training for various levels of emergency response and to improve the quality, effectiveness, and safety of the emergency responders. They are structured to help the local emergency responders who complete them to meet the OSHA and EPA regulatory training requirements for those responding to hazardous materials emergency events.
These New Jersey agencies have also developed refresher training courses to help New Jersey emergency responders maintain their competencies.
Other State Efforts
All the states are now involved in advancing their emergency planning efforts and emergency response capabilities to a higher level of preparedness than before 9/11. They are now better able to meet the requirements of SARA Title III—the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know requirements. Continuing effort is required to keep contingency plans, LEPC plans, and others current with existing and expected conditions and to ensure that they address all types of potential emergencies.