New vision of emergency response planning



In an emergency situation, seconds can mean the difference between relief and tragedy. Important information must be presented clearly and cohesively to enable decision making under crisis conditions.

This paper describes a project in which an Emergency Response System (ERS) has been developed for the Uthmaniyah gas plant (UGP). The ERS is essentially made up of two applications: the SAFER Real-Time application made by SAFER Systems of the United States and a customized Geographical Information System (GIS) application developed by the Saudi Aramco Information Technology group. The SAFER system provides the user with immediate plume graphics based on local topography, maps, real-time weather, chemical release specifics, and gas sensors data. This information is fed to a scientific gas dispersion model to predict the movement and concentration of gas or liquid release. The GIS allows the effect of the plume on people and structures to be analyzed in detail. Combined together, the ERS provides a tool for modeling and monitoring an accidental release. It will improve emergency planning, decision making, and response within the UGPD.

The above information is shared with emergency responders such as the fire department, security, and medical personnel via the network. As a result, they would dispatch their resources via the safest route. As weather conditions change, the plume dispersion will change and, hence, emergency response efforts will shift accordingly. © 2004 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Process Saf Prog 23: 56–61, 2004