Helping hazardous chemical facilities better prepare for extreme weather events is the focus of a safety alert and video. “2020 Hurricane Season: Guidance for Chemical Plants During Extreme Weather Events” outlines specific procedures to ensure safe restarts following a severe weather event. For example, facilities are urged to follow established startup procedures and checklists and to recognize that “human performance may be compromised due to crisis conditions.”

Additional safety protocols include: checking bulk storage tanks for evidence of floating displacement or damage; and examining insulation systems, sewers, drains, furnace systems, electric motors and other equipment, including warning systems, to make sure they are fully functional.

The video and safety alert, produced by the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB), highlight actions by the Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS) to help chemical facilities prepare for hurricane season.

On August 31, 2017, fires erupted at the Arkema Chemical Plant in Crosby, Texas, as a result of heavy rain from Hurricane Harvey. Plant equipment flooded and failed. This caused chemicals stored at the facility to decompose and burn, releasing fumes and smoke into the air. Twenty-one people sought medical attention from reported exposures to the fumes. More than 200 residents living nearby the facility were evacuated and could not return home for a week.