Assessing the Effectiveness of Shelter-in-Place as an Emergency Response to Large-Scale Outdoor Chemical Releases   [open pdf - 7MB]

"Large-scale outdoor chemical releases can cause severe harm to people in nearby communities. Sheltering in buildings may be used as a temporary measure to reduce health risk from exposure to the toxic materials. Shelter-in-place (SIP) is relatively straightforward to implement because most people are already in buildings most of the time, and so exercising the emergency response simply means closing windows and doors, and turning off ventilation fans. However, air leakage variability in the building stock can lead to considerable differences in the effectiveness of buildings in protecting occupants against outdoor releases. The effectiveness of SIP for the community can also vary for different release conditions. This dissertation identifies and assesses the key factors that affect community-scale SIP effectiveness. Large-scale airborne toxic chemical releases are simulated to assess the potential acute health effects for the exposed population. Modeling of the distribution of indoor concentrations is accomplished through detailed analysis of the air leakage of 2 residential and non-residential buildings and simulation of their air infiltration rates. The expected outcome for a population that shelter indoors is quantified by a community-based metric that captures the variability among buildings. Sensitivity of SIP effectiveness to model parameters is evaluated under different release scenarios by comparing changes in the casualty reduction estimates."

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Airflow and Pollutant Transport Group: http://eetd.lbl.gov
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