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Significance and Use
6.1 Preparedness includes awareness and education for all community members that might be impacted by a hazardous materials accident, and creating expectations for the actions of all community members should an accident occur.
6.1.1 The point of preparedness is to minimize the impact of a chemical accident through the actions of all community members, rather than the actions of only facility and response agencies. These actions, when coupled with accident prevention and consequence reduction strategies, reduce the potential for hazardous materials accidents and minimize the consequences of those that do occur.
6.2 There is great potential benefit to facilities, communities, LEPCs and emergency responders in developing a common understanding of the chemical hazards and accident preparedness capabilities present in their communities. The common understanding can significantly minimize he consequences of hazardous chemical accidents (See NPFA 1600).
6.3 Coordination and cooperation must fit into the process for improving community preparedness.
6.3.1 Preparedness is based first on the community developing a broad awareness and understanding of the risks that are present, locally. Next comes a community-wide evaluation of which community members are most vulnerable to risks, the mechanisms or pathways of risks, and the existing capabilities to address those risks should an accident occur. The capabilities being evaluated include more than the ability of the first responders to take actions. It includes the capabilities of all community members to take appropriate actions.
6.3.2 Since all communities have capability gaps when evaluated against the risks present in the community, the subsequent step is strategic planning to fill those capability gaps with prioritization for these efforts developed by the community members. Again, improved preparedness is the goal, not simply focusing on response capacity.
6.3.3 Filling capability gaps requires the use of all the regulatory and social tools available to the community and its partners. All community members have a stake in accident prevention, consequence reduction and improving the collective ability to communicate and respond. Improvements are made through increased awareness, education, training, cooperative programs, and practice. Addressing the identified capability gaps can include a broad range of options such as accident prevention to creation of expectations for the actions of community members to be able to shelter, evacuate and provide aid to others. Stakeholder engagement is critical to successfully closing capability gaps.
6.3.4 Accomplishing these tasks is a community-level activity. While it might be led by an emergency manager or local emergency planning committee, the key to successful preparedness planning is broad coordination and cooperation involving all community members.
6.3.5 Facilities must be part of the preparedness effort because of their greater expertise on the properties of the hazardous chemicals present at their plants, knowledge of their operating systems and procedures, hazards assessments, their emergency plans, and emergency response capabilities.
1.1 This guide covers new and anticipated state and federal regulatory programs that create an obligation to “coordinate and cooperate” on emergency preparedness planning between regulated facilities, local emergency planning committees (“LEPCs”) and emergency responders. The goal of this increased coordination and cooperation is to develop better community preparedness for potential accidents involving hazardous chemicals and hazardous waste. Currently, existing regulations do not adequately describe the expectations for the “coordinate and cooperate” process, that apply to each party working on emergency preparedness. This guide is intended to assist facilities, LEPCs, emergency responders, and other stakeholders in performing the coordinate and cooperate function at a community preparedness level.
1.1.1 As the outcome of the “coordinate and cooperate” process is community driven, it would be extremely difficult to create these expectations in regulation. Without further guidance or standards, these obligations could easily be misconstrued or ignored. The absence of standards for “coordination and cooperation” potentially subjects facilities to enforcement for noncompliance and, more concerning, fails to inform LEPCs, emergency responders and community members generally so they can identify opportunities for better preparedness in their communities.
1.1.2 Preparedness Planning versus Response—Emergency response activities are a specialized field involving programs of training, hazard awareness and specific types of equipment. Coordination and cooperation on emergency preparedness planning is not about emergency response. Instead, it is a whole-of-community process of awareness and education. The broad objective is that all community members ultimately understand the actions they should take to protect themselves, their families and property. All community members are stakeholders in the preparedness planning process and each community needs to think expansively when inviting participants to the process.
1.2 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.
1.3 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.
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ASTM E3241-20, Standard Guide for Coordination and Cooperation between Facilities, Local Emergency Planning Committees, and Emergency Responders, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2020, www.astm.orgBack to Top