Tips to Prepare for Hurricane Season

May 10, 2024
EPA reminds operators of some basic steps to prepare for hazardous weather

Emergency response teams at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are preparing for the Gulf Coast hurricane season, which begins June 1. Staff members known as on-scene coordinators (OSCs) are trained in disaster response and work with state, local and Tribal partners to prepare for potential storms. This includes providing guidelines for industrial facilities for preventing, minimizing and reporting chemical releases. Facility operators are obligated to maintain safety, minimize releases that do occur, and report chemical or oil releases and discharges in a timely manner, as required under regulations such as the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act and the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan.

Unlike some natural disasters, hurricanes and tropical storms are predictable and usually allow facilities to prepare for potential impacts. EPA reminds operators of some basic steps to prepare for hazardous weather:

  • Review procedures for shutting down processes and securing facilities appropriately—especially hazardous chemical storage—or otherwise implement appropriate safe operating procedures.
  • Review updated state-federal guidelines for flooding preparedness, https://response.epa.gov/sites/5083/files/RRT-6-Fact.Sheets.Compendium.pdf.
  • Assure all employees are familiar with requirements and procedures to contact the National Response Center in case a spill or release occurs.
  • Review local response contacts, including Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs) and State Emergency Response Commissions (SERCs). A list of these contacts by state is available here.

Prevention and reporting requirements for facilities are available at the EPA's Hazardous Weather Release Prevention and Reporting webpage.

In the event of a hazardous weather incident, please visit the EPA's Natural Disasters webpage for updated emergency information.

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