Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Lessons Learned: Only Our Own?

It's probably a universal human trait: We're very adept at changing our ways based on what's in the rear-view mirror. But only our own, not someone else's.

That's why it's so vital to share information and learn from others' experiences. For example:

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Kanawha County officials have changed an emergency response plan more than three months after a deadly explosion at the Bayer CropScience plant in Institute.

Depending upon the severity of an event, Emergency Services Director Dale Petry says the county will issue an automatic shelter-in place during a chemical emergency if officials can't get clear information about the incident within 10 minutes.

Emergency services officials have criticized Bayer CropScience for failing to provide timely information following the Aug. 28 incident in which two people died. The incident remains under federal, state and local investigation.
Has Kanawha County's experience caused any other local government officials, anywhere else in the United States, to re-consider their own emergency response plan?

There are 15,000 hazardous chemical facilities in the United States. 7000 of them could affect more than 1000 people in the local area in the event of an accident or intentional release. 123 of them could affect more than 1 million people (source). When is the last time the communities near those chemical facilities examined their emergency response plans?

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