What is the CAMEO software suite?
The CAMEO® software suite is a system of software applications used widely to plan for and respond to chemical emergencies. It is one of the tools developed by EPA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to assist front-line chemical emergency planners and responders. They can use CAMEO to access, store, and evaluate information critical for developing emergency plans. In addition, CAMEO supports regulatory compliance by helping users meet the chemical inventory reporting requirements of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA, also known as SARA Title III).
The CAMEO system integrates a chemical database and a method to manage the data, an air dispersion model, and a mapping capability. All modules work interactively to share and display critical information in a timely fashion. The CAMEO system is available in Macintosh and Windows formats.
- Why was CAMEO Created?
- Who Uses CAMEO?
- What is in CAMEO?
- Other Planning/Response Tools
The CAMEO software suite was developed because NOAA recognized that emergency response personnel were often severely hampered by lack of accurate hazardous substance information. In addition, emergency planners lacked a tool to store and easily use information that is essential for emergency planning.
Since 1988, EPA and NOAA have collaborated to augment CAMEO to assist both emergency responders and planners. (See 30 Years of EPCRA to learn how CAMEO fits into the overall EPCRA timeline.) CAMEO has been enhanced to provide emergency planners with a tool to enter local information and develop incident scenarios to better prepare for chemical emergencies. The Bureau of Census and the U.S. Coast Guard have worked with EPA and NOAA to continue to enhance the system.
- State Emergency Response Commissions (SERCs) and Tribal Emergency Response Commissions (TERCs)
- Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs)
- Environmental Organizations
- Police Departments
CAMEO is actually a suite of four core programs that can be used together or separetely:
CAMEOfm is a database application that includes eight modules (such as Facilities and Contacts) to assist with data management requirements under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). Each year, facilities covered by EPCRA must submit an emergency and hazardous chemical inventory form to their LEPC, SERC, and local fire department. Most facilities submit a Tier II form, which contains basic facility identification information, employee contact information, and information such as storage amounts, storage conditions, and locations for chemicals stored or used at the facility. You can use CAMEOfm to store this information, by entering it manually or by importing a Tier2 Submit™ file (if the facilities and/or planners in your state use that program). CAMEOfm can also be used to navigate between ALOHA, MARPLOT, and the CAMEO Chemicals desktop program.
CAMEO Chemicals has an extensive chemical database with critical response information for thousands of chemicals. There are two primary types of datasheets in the database: chemical datasheets and UN/NA datasheets. Chemical datasheets provide physical properties, health hazards, information about air and water hazards, and recommendations for firefighting, first aid, and spill response. UN/NA datasheets provide response information from the Emergency Response Guidebook and shipping information from the Hazardous Materials Table (49 CFR 172.101). In addition to the information on the datasheets, you can also add chemicals to the MyChemicals collection to see what hazards might occur if the chemicals in the collection were mixed together. CAMEO Chemicals is available as a website, mobile website, mobile app, and desktop program. (The mobile app and desktop program formats can be used offline.)
MARPLOT is a mapping application. The program comes with several global background basemap options, with maps in both street and satellite view. Users can add to the information shown on the map by drawing their own objects (such as chemical facilities, schools, or response assets) or by importing layers of objects already created by other sources. Map objects can be linked to records in CAMEOfm, in order to store additional information about these locations (such as emergency contact information or site plans). Additionally, the areas contaminated by potential or actual chemical release scenarios can be displayed on the maps to determine potential impacts and help users make decisions about the degree of hazard posed by the releases.
ALOHA is an atmospheric dispersion model used for evaluating releases of hazardous chemical vapors. ALOHA allows the user to estimate the downwind dispersion of a chemical cloud based on the toxicological/physical characteristics of the released chemical, atmospheric conditions, and specific circumstances of the release. ALOHA can estimate threat zones associated with several types of hazardous chemical releases, including toxic gas clouds, fires, and explosions. Threat zones can be displayed on MARPLOT maps to help users assess geospatial information, such as whether vulnerable locations (such as hospitals and schools) might be impacted by the release or whether other nearby factors (such as construction zones) might complicate the response.
For more information on emergency preparedness, planning, and prevention programs, contact the EPA Superfund, TRI, EPCRA, RMP & Oil Information Center, a toll-free service that can answer technical policy questions on federal EPA regulations. The Call Center can be reached during regular business hours at:
- Toll-Free: (800) 424-9346
- Local: (703) 412-9810
- TDD: (800) 553-7672
- TDD Local: (703) 412-3323
For answers to functional software questions or solutions to installation problems, contact the Risk Management Plan (RMP) Reporting Center: (703) 227-7650 (8am-4:30pm M-F) or via e-mail at: RMPRC@epacdx.net
- Tier2 Submit is a tool for facilities to submit EPCRA Tier II reports to their state, LEPC, and fire department.
- RMP*Comp™ calculates vulnerable zone distances based on the Risk Management Program (RMP) Guidance for Offsite Consequence Analysis.