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Pacific Southwest, Region 9

Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations

Project BOLDER

The Problem

Despite federal regulations that currently require a facility to prepare up to nine separate emergency plans, there is no requirement that actually puts this information into the hands of firefighters and other emergency responders in a single format. This puts firefighters at great risk when responding to an emergency, since they do not have needed information on hand, such as a site plan which would lead to a less risky response.

The Solution

The Basic On-Line Disaster and Emergency Response (BOLDER) software program collects accurate, timely, and site-specific emergency planning information. The BOLDER software condenses 526 pages of redundant data in nine emergency plans into a 27 page standard electronic format. This allows a facility to create an emergency response plan that shows where chemicals are used and stored, facility site maps, floor plans, emergency exits, shut-off valves, evacuation routes, and on-site emergency response capabilities, etc.. For the first time, emergency responders can routinely access critical data in the field during an emergency, either with a laptop or from a dispatch unit giving instructions.

Keeping this information current also takes less time when done electronically compared with exchanging many pieces of paper in a variety of binders, and mailing the changes to the various regulatory agencies. Fire departments can spend less staff time pulling old files and replacing them with new emergency response plans. Industry saves resources meeting their emergency planning and reporting requirements.

The Results

Project BOLDER was launched in July 1996 and completed in August 1999. Industry, emergency responders, regulators, community representatives, and environmental groups provided input into its development. In September of 1999 BOLDER was evaluated as an emergency response planning tool for industries along both sides of the U.S./Mexico border. Several fire departments have made electronic reporting of emergency response information by industry an option. All stakeholders have continued to offer suggestions to improve the application and former members of Project BOLDER have listened and continued to work on these improvements. A private sector company has developed a web-based application that collects all of the data elements and produces a comprehensive emergency response plan as well as the EPCRA Tier II report and the Uniform Fire Code Hazardous Materials Management Plan and Hazardous Materials Inventory Statement.

Contacts

For more information about BOLDER, contact Chris Tirpack at (202) 564-0546, tirpack.chris@epa.gov, or Warren Beer at (415) 972-3634, beer.warren@epa.gov.

 

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