Chemical Weapons Storage: Communities Are Not Prepared to Respond to Emergencies, Statement of David R. Warren, Associate Director, Defense Management and NASA Issues, National Security and International Affairs Division, Testimony Before the Subcommittee on Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources, Committee on Government Operations, House of Representatives   [open pdf - 1MB]

"State and local officials, in accordance with state law, have the primary responsibility for protecting the health and safety of the local communities in the event of an emergency involving chemical agents. Emergency management in any situation is made up of three phases: planning and preparation, response, and recovery. During the planning and preparatory phase, hazards are identified and mitigated and the resources needed to respond to an emergency are identified and obtained. In the response phase, resources are used to respond to an emergency situation. This phase may include such actions as alerting the community to the emergency and evacuating some portion of the population from the threatened area. Lastly, during the recovery phase, damage is assessed and repaired and people return to the area affected by the emergency. In an emergency associated with chemical weapons, the substances released have the potential for great harm, and quick reaction is exceedingly critical. Chemical agents can move with the ambient air and, at some sites, can travel off the installation boundaries in minutes. For this reason the alert and notification systems, protective actions, protective gear, and automation appropriate to such an emergency may differ from those required to cope with other potential local emergencies."

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