Identifying South Carolina’s Readiness to Chemical Threats

(Caglar Koylu, Chris Emrich and Susan Cutter / 2012) 

Secure Web-based Chemical Threat Assessment

In response to the Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2007 (Section 550), DHS must identify, assess, and ensure the security and safety of at high-risk chemical facilities throughout the nation. These so-called “domestic weapons of mass destruction” are located throughout South Carolina. While federal level processes and procedures are in place for identifying the facilities and chemicals on the DHS list, there is neither a systematic understanding of the threat to at risk populations in our state nor an understanding of readiness related to each of the specific threats. Such information would be vital to the formulation of planning and preparedness functions throughout the state. 

To address this problem, we conducted spatial analyses of the chemicals of interest within the state, identify the populations residing in potential threat areas, and examine the readiness and response systems within the state. We developed a web-based chemical assessment tool to analyze South Carolina’s unique landscape of chemical risk.

This project consisted of three specific tasks:

  1. Identify the current threat level of chemical facilities in South Carolina in relation to the type and quantity of chemicals located at each facility;
  2. Identify and analyze the underlying socio-economic and demographic characteristics of the populations residing within the exposure areas of each chemical facility in relation to the threat level;
  3. Analyze the current readiness and response patterns across the state in relation to the specific threat and the populations at risk. 
The web-based to identify chemical threats in relation to the type and quantity of chemicals located at each facility, populations at risk and the availability of emergency response.

Funcions:

  1. A report outlining all of the findings for each chemical facility, including
    • Characteristics of each facility by specific threat level (sabotage, release, theft)
    • Characteristics of threatened population
    • Readiness of public safety and emergency functions in relation to threats
  2. A spatial analytic tool to enable key emergency response personnel to better understand and build a readiness for chemical emergencies by:
    • ​​​Dynamically viewing facilities and threat
    • Understanding how readiness is influenced by specific threat
    • Visualizing the characteristics of threatened populations
    • Identifying where gaps or overlaps in coverage are situated throughout the state.

Example Report Generated by the web application: