Chemical Weapons: FEMA and Army Must Be Proactive in Preparing States for Emergencies
GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WASHINGTON DC
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Millions of people live and work near eight Army storage facilities containing nearly 30,000 tons of chemical agents and are at risk of exposure from a chemical accident at these facilities. Such an accident could affect people in 10 different states. The Army plans to destroy its entire chemical weapons stockpile by 2007 and is taking measures to protect the public before and during the demilitarization process. In 1988, the Army established the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program to assist the 10 states with communities near the eight storage facilities obtain the additional necessary equipment and training they need to be fully prepared to protect the public, the facilities workforces, and the environment in the unlikely event of a chemical stockpile accident. The Army and the Federal Emergency Management Agency share the federal governments responsibility for the programs funding and execution. On the basis of varying needs for critical items such as warning sirens, protective equipment, and response plans required by the states, the Army and the agency agree that when these items are in place, the states and communities are fully prepared to respond to a chemical emergency. The program established a self-imposed goal of reaching full preparedness by 1998. In 1999, the Army estimated that the program would cost about 1.2 billion through 2010.
- Chemical, Biological and Radiological Warfare