Inadequate or poor emergency planning or response has been a recurring finding in the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board’s (CSB’s) investigations. One of the very early CSB investigations, the Herrig Brothers Farm Propane Tank Explosion, made an emergency response recommendation for training for firefighers, as did the recently closed West Fertilizer Investigation. 

To date, 16 CSB investigations have found deficiencies in a community’s, facility’s or emergency responder’s response to an incident at a chemical facility. The majority of CSB’s recommendations relating to emergency response can be categorized in the following areas

Emergency Response Investigations
Investigations 16
Recommendations 46
Open Recommendations 9
Closed Recommendations 37
  • Training for emergency responders, including hazardous materials training;
  • Local emergency planning and community response plans and teams;
  • Use of community notification systems;
  • Use of an incident command system and the National Incident Management System;
  • Conducting emergency response exercises;
  • Information sharing between facilities, emergency responders and the community; and
  • Communication during emergencies (including 911 operator communication, interoperability of radios, etc).

In 2009, the CSB released a safety video based on ten years of emergency response recommendations and investigations.



CSB Investigations and Recommendations involving emergency response and planning:

Digests and Videos Released in November of 2018

Safety Digest: Emergency Planning and Response The Importance of Preparation, Training, and Communication

Herrig Brothers Propane Tank Explosion Investigation Digest 

Emergency Response Safety Message 





Last Updated February 6, 2017