Identifying Chemical Risks
The manufacture, use, storage, and distribution of chemicals is vital to modern life, and must be secured from threats including terrorism and accidents.
Some chemical facilities possess materials that could be stolen and used to make weapons. A successful attack on certain high-risk facilities could cause a significant number of deaths and injuries.
Preventing and Preparing
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) for at-risk facilities. Their operators are required to prepare and submit for DHS approval Security Vulnerability Assessments. Based on those assessments, they may be required to develop and implement enhanced security plans.
DHS also seeks to build preparedness for chemical terrorism and accidents at the state and local level through the Chemical Defense Program. This program integrates existing federal chemical defense efforts and programs, and works directly with communities in preparing officials and responders to make informed decisions and take appropriate actions in the immediate aftermath of a chemical event.
Addressing Industry and Community Needs
CFATS currently covers approximately 4,500 facilities across all 50 states. The CFATS program has illuminated the complex security issues associated with the chemical industry and helped create a clearer picture of:
- What dangerous chemicals are available commercially
- Who has them
- How they are handled and secured
- Which facilities present the highest risks
Through online tools, high-risk facilities can now assess their own vulnerabilities and develop plans to reduce risks. A thorough review of facilities’ security postures and on-site inspections verify the adequacy of facilities’ measures.
The Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) is assisting communities in local chemical defense. DHS also continues to lead the effort to develop national guidance on chemical decontamination.