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2012 EPA Research Progress Report

Supporting Emergency Response and Recovery

Tragic events from the terrorist attacks of 2001 to the recent destruction left in the wake of Superstorm Sandy have made images of emergency response all too familiar: emergency crews rush in, search and rescue operations commence, and those affected are tended to and moved to more secure areas. Research products addressing terrorism response and recovery can also be employed in other situations.

For the past ten years, EPA’s homeland security researchers have been conducting research that supports federal, state, and local decision makers working to prepare emergency responders and local communities with the information they need.

In 2012, EPA researchers continued to work with partners from the Department of Homeland Security on the Wide Area Recovery and Resiliency Program (WARRP) Exit EPA Disclaimer. The program is a collaborative effort to develop and demonstrate actions to reduce the time and resources needed to recover from a large-scale chemical, biological, or radiological event, such as one affecting military installations, urban areas, or critical infrastructure.

Working with EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, public health officials, and waste management experts, EPA researchers have developed plans and tools to provide real-time information on waste disposal. EPA researchers updated the Agency’s Incident Waste Assessment System and Triage Estimator (I-WASTE), a Web-based, easily accessible tool that provides a suite of waste management information for cleaning up after natural disasters, terrorist attacks, and widespread outbreaks of animal disease.

I-WASTE 2012, available at http://bit.ly/12fs1EK, offers emergency response planners information on waste characterization, treatment, and disposal options, and how to incorporate safe, efficient waste management operations into emergency response plans.

To support emergency response operations involving hazardous biologicals and chemicals, in 2012 EPA researchers released SERRA 4.0 database (Support for Environmental Risk Assessment). The “knowledge base” provides an extensive compilation of scientific information to assist scientists, emergency personnel and decision makers responsible for planning and managing cleanup operations, including mitigating hazards, in the aftermath of a terrorist event. 

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