oversight

Chemical and Biological Defense: Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program for Oregon and Washington

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1999-10-26.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                  United States General Accounting Office

GAO               Report to the Honorable
                  Ron Wyden, U.S. Senate



October 1999
                  CHEMICAL AND
                  BIOLOGICAL
                  DEFENSE

                  Chemical Stockpile
                  Emergency
                  Preparedness Program
                  for Oregon and
                  Washington




GAO/NSIAD-00-13
Contents



Letter                                                                                   3


Appendixes   Appendix I:   Scope and Methodology                                        20
             Appendix II: Status of Program Elements Not Available or Not
               Fully Operational in Oregon                                              21
             Appendix III: Comments From the Federal Emergency
               Management Agency                                                        27
             Appendix IV: GAO Contacts and Staff Acknowledgments                        29


Tables       Table 1: Status of Key CSEPP-Funded Program Elements in Oregon              9
             Table 2: Status of Other Critical CSEPP Elements                           10


Figures      Figure 1: Boundaries of the Critical Response Area for Communities
               Surrounding the Depot                                                     7
             Figure 2: Individual Wearing a Personal Protective Suit During
               a CSEPP Exercise                                                         12




             Abbreviations

             CSEPP     Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program
             DOD       Department of Defense
             FEMA      Federal Emergency Management Agency



             Page 1                         GAO/NSIAD-00-13 Chemical and Biological Defense
Page 2   GAO/NSIAD-00-13 Chemical and Biological Defense
United States General Accounting Office                                                  National Security and
Washington, D.C. 20548                                                            International Affairs Division



                                    B-280639                                                                         Leter




                                    October 26, 1999

                                    The Honorable Ron Wyden
                                    United States Senate

                                    Dear Senator Wyden:

                                    As you requested, we reviewed the Chemical Stockpile Emergency
                                    Preparedness Program (CSEPP) for the Oregon and Washington
                                    communities surrounding the Umatilla Chemical Depot. This program was
                                    created to protect the public in the event of an accident during destruction
                                    of the chemical weapons stockpile. You wanted to know whether the
                                    communities around the depot have made progress since our 1997 report in
                                    preparing for a chemical stockpile emergency and any key steps they could
                                    take to further their progress. Specifically, this report (1) discusses the
                                    progress communities have made since our 1997 report on their Chemical
                                    Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program efforts and (2) identifies
                                    strategies for enhancing the program’s implementation in Oregon.



Results in Brief                    Since we last reported on their preparedness in 1997, the Oregon and
                                    Washington communities surrounding the Umatilla Chemical Depot have
                                    made progress in preparing for a possible chemical weapons stockpile
                                    emergency. Several additional preparedness equipment items and other
                                    program elements are now fully or partially in place. For example, Oregon
                                    now has a working siren warning system to notify people outdoors if an
                                    accident occurs. Oregon community officials have also installed over-
                                    pressurization systems in the 11 schools most likely to be affected if
                                    chemical agents are released into the atmosphere. Over-pressurization
                                    systems use filtered air to increase the pressure inside a building or a room
                                    to keep chemical-laden air outside. Washington also has added elements,
                                    such as a fully operational integrated communications system that would
                                    allow state, county, and local Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness
                                    Program participants to communicate during an emergency. As a result of
                                    this progress, Oregon and Washington’s ability to meet a chemical stockpile
                                    emergency has improved. However, some critical equipment items were
                                    still not in place in either state, including (1) tone alert radios, which are
                                    intended to notify residents while indoors of an accident and to instruct
                                    them on the measures they need to take to protect themselves and




                                    Page 3                            GAO/NSIAD-00-13 Chemical and Biological Defense
B-280639




(2) shelter-in-place kits, which residents could use to seal up a room to
keep chemical agents out.

Planning is an extremely critical element for effective program
management and Oregon’s program planning needs improvement. The
program in Oregon lacks an overall plan that (1) defines missions, roles,
outcomes, and performance measures and (2) includes input from all the
key stakeholders, such as local, county, and state emergency response
personnel. As a result, Oregon has had problems in developing specific
integrated response plans for meeting a chemical emergency and has
experienced problems coordinating program efforts. We reviewed the
programs in Washington and Utah for any lessons that could be applied to
the Oregon program. The Federal Emergency Management Agency
considered Washington’s plans to be excellent and the Army and the
Federal Emergency Management Agency considered Utah’s program the
most advanced. Although these programs are not directly comparable to
Oregon’s because these states have far fewer people close to chemical
weapons stockpiles and less complex programs, both have detailed,
coordinated, and integrated response plans that have helped emergency
responders prepare to meet a chemical emergency. Moreover, the
Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (P.L.103-62, August 3,
1993) offers a results-oriented management framework, including setting
performance goals and specifying the strategies and resources to be used in
achieving goals, that Oregon could apply in its program planning. Following
such a framework could help emergency responders be better prepared in
the event of a chemical accident and prevent or minimize the recurrence of
coordination problems.

We are recommending that the Director of the Federal Emergency
Management Agency work closely with officials at the state and local levels
in Oregon to develop effective plans that follow the results-oriented
principles embodied in the Results Act. Such a strategy could help establish
a framework for program coordination and implementation in which all the
entities involved understand their roles and responsibilities, the time
frames within which they must be achieved, and the resources available to
achieve them.




Page 4                            GAO/NSIAD-00-13 Chemical and Biological Defense
             B-280639




Background   In November 1985, the Congress directed the Department of Defense
             (DOD) to destroy the U.S. stockpile of lethal chemical agents and
             munitions, and it directed that a disposal program provide for the
             maximum protection of the environment, the public, and the personnel
             involved in disposing of the munitions.1 The Army and the Federal
             Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) defined “maximum protection”
             as mitigating the effects of an accident to the maximum extent practicable.
             The Army is conducting the disposal program at the eight stateside storage
             sites and on Johnston Atoll in the Pacific Ocean. The stateside sites are at
             Anniston Chemical Activity, Alabama; Pine Bluff Arsenal, Arkansas; Pueblo
             Chemical Activity, Colorado; Newport Chemical Activity, Indiana; Blue
             Grass Chemical Activity, Kentucky; Edgewood Chemical Activity,
             Maryland; Umatilla Chemical Depot, Oregon; and Deseret Chemical Depot,
             Utah.

             In 1988, the Army established CSEPP to help communities near the eight
             stateside sites enhance existing emergency management and response
             capabilities in the event of a chemical stockpile accident. Because of its
             expertise in emergency management, FEMA assisted the Army with the
             program by providing technical assistance and distributing program funds
             provided by the Army to the involved states. The Army, however, retained
             responsibility for enhancing emergency preparedness at the installations
             where the stockpiles are stored. In 1993 and 1994, the Army and FEMA also
             jointly established operational and functional benchmarks and planning
             guidance for CSEPP. These identify program elements that are critical for
             preparing and responding to a chemical stockpile emergency, including
             equipment (such as siren warning systems and tone alert radios),
             coordinated plans, training, community involvement programs, and
             exercise programs to practice emergency response activities.




             1
                 P.L. 99-145, section 1412.




             Page 5                           GAO/NSIAD-00-13 Chemical and Biological Defense
B-280639




In June 1997, even though some joint steps had been taken, we reported
that disagreement between the Army and FEMA over their roles and
responsibilities had contributed to slowness in CSEPP implementation. We
noted that the disagreement put the future effectiveness of the program at
risk and recommended that the Army and FEMA reach agreement on a
long-term program management structure that clearly defined the roles and
responsibilities of each.2 The Army and FEMA addressed the problem in a
subsequent memorandum of understanding in which the Army retained
responsibility for managing and directing emergency preparedness
activities at the storage depots, while FEMA accepted responsibility for
program implementation in communities surrounding the depots.3

The Umatilla Chemical Depot is surrounded by Oregon’s Umatilla and
Morrow counties and Washington’s Benton County. In both states, counties
and local communities are primarily responsible for implementing
emergency preparedness; however, because these counties and
communities are near the depot, CSEPP works to enhance their emergency
management and response capabilities for chemical agent accidents. Parts
of all three counties are near the area of the depot that would be the first
affected by an accidental release of chemical agents and would likely
receive the heaviest agent concentrations. People in this area, which
extends up to 9 miles from the stockpile storage site, have less than 1 hour
under normal weather conditions to take protective actions such as
evacuating or staying indoors in an over-pressurized or sealed room to keep
chemical-laden air out. The ability to rapidly implement the most
appropriate protective actions within this area is, therefore, crucial.
Oregon and Washington have approximately 25,000 and 1,700 people,
respectively, who live, work, or attend school within this area.




2
  Chemical Weapons Stockpile: Changes Needed in the Management of the Emergency
Preparedness Program (GAO/NSIAD-97-91, June 11, 1997).
3
 In 1998, the Congress enacted legislation requiring FEMA, in coordination with the Army
and in accordance with agreements between FEMA and the Army, to carry out a program to
provide assistance to state and local governments in developing capabilities to respond to
emergencies involving risks to the public health or safety due to the storage or destruction
of designated lethal chemical agents and munitions at military facilities (P.L. 105-261,
section 141). Funding for these activities are provided in the Army’s budget.




Page 6                                  GAO/NSIAD-00-13 Chemical and Biological Defense
                                                                                                          B-280639




Figure 1: Boundaries of the Critical Response Area for Communities Surrounding the Depot



                                                                                                                                         Washington
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Walla Walla Co.
                                                                                                    221                                                                                                                                                                                   Umatilla County
                                                                                                                                                                                             82


                                                                                                                             14
                                                                  Paterson                                                                                           Plymouth                                                                730
         Klickitat County




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        r
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Rive
                            Benton County




                                                                                                      River                                                                                                   Columbia
                                                                                                                                                                                         McNary
                                                                                                a                                                                        Umatilla
                                                                                              bi                Irrigon                                                                                                                     37
                                                                     lum                                                                                                               395
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            M
                                                                                                                                                                                                               Yoakum
                                                                  Co                                                   730                                                                                                                                                       idd
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     le




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      So
                                                                                                                                                                                                             207                                                                           Co
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             ld




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           uth
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Cold Springs                                                Sp
                                                                                                           Ferry Rd.
                                                                                                           Paterson




                                                                                                                               Chemical                                                                                                                                                              rin




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Co
                                                                                                                              Storage Site                                                                                             Reservoir                                                        gs




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     ld
                                                                                                                                      Umatilla                                                Hermiston
                                                                                                                                                                               R d




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Ro
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Sp
                                                                                                                                                                                   n
                                                                                                                                                                                d.
                                                             Boardman
                                                                                                                                                                               tla


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  rin




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 ad
                                                                                                                                   Chemical Depot
                                                                                                                                                                           es




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       gs
                                                                                                                                                                         W




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Rd
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              .


                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Stanfield




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Rew Rd.
                                                                         Bombing Range Road




                                                                                                   Homestead Road                                                                                                                           84
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Echo

                                                                                                                                                                                                       Hwy
                                                                                                                                        Umatilla County
                                                                                                                                        Morrow County




                                                                                                                                                                                                  on
                                                                                                                                                                                             ingt




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Lorenzen
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Um


                                                                                                                                                                                 Echo- Lex




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Rd.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       ati
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          lla


                                                                                                                                                                         207                                                    Riv
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   er
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yoakum

                                            Immigrant Road
                                                                                                                                               Bu




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    oad
                                                                                                                                                   tte
                                                                                                                                                          r Creek R




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                nR
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Canyo



                            Immediate response zone

                            Protective action zone                                                                                                                                                                                                   Spring
                                                                                                                                                                    oa
                                                                                                                                                                  d




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    d
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Mu




                            Marine safety zone

                            Sector boundaries
                                                                                                                                  Oregon


                                                                                                          Note: The immediate response zone [IRZ] extends to approximately 9 miles from the chemical
                                                                                                          stockpile storage site and the protective action zone extends from the end of the IRZ up to 30 miles
                                                                                                          from the storage site.
                                                                                                          Source: Federal Emergency Management Agency.




                                                                                                          Page 7                                                                                    GAO/NSIAD-00-13 Chemical and Biological Defense
                          B-280639




Additional Equipment      Based on an assessment of key program items identified by FEMA and the
                          Army, Oregon and Washington have made progress since our 1997 report in
Items and Other           adding to their emergency preparedness program. However, both states
Program Elements Are      still lack elements considered necessary to respond to a chemical
                          emergency.
in Place But More
Elements Are Needed

Key Program Elements      The key program elements we used to assess the progress of the states’
                          programs were identified in the CSEPP benchmarks and program guidance
                          developed by the Army and FEMA. These included program elements
                          considered critical for preparing any community to respond to a chemical
                          agent emergency, such as outdoor warning sirens and tone alert radios.
                          They also included program elements that are considered critical for
                          addressing specific risks at particular stockpile sites, such as
                          pressurization projects for in-place sheltering in schools and hospitals.
                          Together, these program elements are intended to provide communities
                          with the capability to

                          • prepare the public through information and educational programs to
                            evacuate or shelter in their homes, businesses, or schools should a
                            chemical accident occur;
                          • alert the public if an accident occurs and notify them of the appropriate
                            protective actions to take (using items such as outdoor sirens, highway
                            reader boards, and tone alert radios);
                          • coordinate emergency response activities and communicate with
                            emergency management and response personnel to provide them
                            information and apprise them of events; and
                          • provide emergency response (such as setting up traffic and access
                            control points, screening people for chemical agent contamination, and
                            decontaminating exposed people) and medical treatment and
                            transportation to medical facilities.


Oregon Has Additional     Subsequent to our 1997 report on the availability of eight critical CSEPP
CSEPP Elements in Place   items identified by the Army and FEMA, several additional program
                          elements have been fully or partially put in place. They include elements
                          now fully in place, such as a working outdoor siren system and an
                          automated data processing system that can project the movement of
                          chemical agents through the atmosphere. They also include elements now



                          Page 8                           GAO/NSIAD-00-13 Chemical and Biological Defense
B-280639




partially in place, such as over-pressurization systems that use filtered air
to increase the pressure inside a building or certain rooms within a building
to keep chemical-laden air outside. Over-pressurization systems have been
installed at 11 Oregon schools, but they have not yet been installed at a
hospital and a nursing home, where they are also required. Some critical
program elements not reported on in 1997—such as highway reader
boards, a community involvement program to prepare and educate the
public on what to do in case of an accident, and an annual exercise
program to train emergency response personnel—are also now in place.
Further, other elements also identified by the Army and FEMA but not
reported on in 1997, such as training, are partially in place.

Table 1 shows Oregon’s status for the eight critical CSEPP items we
reported on in 1997. Table 2 shows Oregon’s status for seven additional
program elements critical for an effective program in Oregon. Additional
detail on program elements not fully in place is included in appendix II.



Table 1: Status of Key CSEPP-Funded Program Elements in Oregon

Program element                                        March 1997               April 1999a
Automated data processing                              Partial                  Yes
Emergency operations center                            Partial                  Partial
Communication system                                   Partial                  Partial
Personal protective equipment (suits) and              Partial                  Partial
chemical agent monitors
Personnel decontamination equipment                    No                       Partial
Pressurization projects                                No                       Partial
Sirens                                                 No                       Yes
Tone alert radios                                      No                       No


Legend:
Yes = fully operational and meets standards
Partial = partially operational because additional requirements are anticipated or the current program
element requirements are not yet completed
No = not yet in place
a
 In commenting on a draft of this report in September 1999, FEMA stated that the emergency
operations centers are now operational and that distribution of tone alert radios would begin in October
1999. This table does not show the updated information because we did not have the opportunity to
confirm it.
Source: Based on data provided by FEMA, the Army, and Oregon state and county emergency
management agencies.




Page 9                                       GAO/NSIAD-00-13 Chemical and Biological Defense
B-280639




Table 2: Status of Other Critical CSEPP Elements

Program element                                                   April 1999
Coordinated plans                                                 No
Community involvement program                                     Yes
Exercise program                                                  Yes
Medical planning/equipment                                        Partial
Shelter-in-place kits                                             Partial
Highway reader boards                                             Yes
Training                                                          Partial


Legend:
Yes = fully operational and meets standards
Partial = partially operational because additional requirements are anticipated or the current program
element requirements are not yet completed
No = not yet in place
Source: Based on data provided by FEMA, the Army, and Oregon state and county emergency
management agencies.


As a result of this progress, Oregon’s ability to meet a chemical emergency
has improved. Nevertheless, two key program elements—tone alert radios
and coordinated plans—were not yet put in place, and some remaining
elements were only partially in place. Consequently, local officials
perceived an overall lack of readiness to deal with a chemical stockpile
emergency. For example, CSEPP plans call for tone alert radios to be
placed in homes, schools, hospitals, jails, nursing homes, and businesses to
alert occupants, even when asleep, if an incident occurs and to provide
instructions on what the occupants should do. The purchase of Oregon’s
tone alert radios has been delayed by a number of factors, including the
state canceling its contract to acquire the radios and subsequently turning
the acquisition process over to the counties. Although the counties are
proceeding with acquisition of the tone alert radios, they do not expect to
distribute the radios to all homes and businesses before December 1999.

The ability of communities to respond to a chemical stockpile emergency
was also limited because training on personal protective equipment
(protective suits) and chemical agent monitors was incomplete and the
equipment had not been distributed. Without personal protective
equipment, emergency response personnel cannot safely decontaminate,
treat, or direct people who have been exposed to chemical agents. Further,
as of April 1999, many of Oregon’s emergency responders still had not been
trained on key activities, such as chemical awareness and



Page 10                                      GAO/NSIAD-00-13 Chemical and Biological Defense
B-280639




decontamination. Training had not progressed further for several reasons,
including the lack of some equipment and scheduling problems. For
example, training was initially scheduled during regular business hours
when emergency responders, most of whom are volunteers, are at their
regular jobs.

Additionally, detailed, coordinated, and integrated program
implementation and emergency response plans were not yet in place.
Federal, state, and local officials agreed that existing plans are not
adequate and, in some cases, not current. Without effective plans,
emergency responders do not know what roles, responsibilities, and
protocols should be followed in the event of an emergency. Officials at the
local level are concerned that they do not at present know where they
should go in a chemical stockpile emergency or what other communities
will be doing, and that they may not be able to communicate with other
responders during an incident.




Page 11                          GAO/NSIAD-00-13 Chemical and Biological Defense
B-280639




Figure 2: Individual Wearing a Personal Protective Suit During a CSEPP Exercise




Source: GAO.




Page 12                             GAO/NSIAD-00-13 Chemical and Biological Defense
                           B-280639




Washington Has Also Made   Since our 1997 report, Washington’s ability to meet a chemical emergency
Progress                   has improved. Most program elements were operational in Washington at
                           the time of our review. For example, Washington had operational sirens,
                           reader boards, automated data processing, communications systems, and
                           decontamination equipment. Other key elements already in place include
                           an emergency operations center, an emergency response exercise program,
                           and a community involvement program. Washington also has detailed,
                           coordinated, and integrated emergency response plans that FEMA
                           considers “excellent.” These program elements, according to local officials,
                           provide additional assurance that local citizens could be notified and would
                           know what to do in the event of an accident.

                           However, two key elements—tone alert radios and personal protective
                           equipment—were not yet in place in Washington and three elements—
                           shelter-in-place kits, medical equipment, and training—were only partially
                           complete.4 At the time of our review, tone alert radio delivery and
                           installation in residences and other structures was expected to be
                           completed in August 1999. Shelter-in-place kits had been purchased but not
                           yet delivered to residents. Officials stated that they plan to distribute the
                           kits along with the distribution of tone alert radios from June through
                           August 1999. Some necessary medical equipment and supplies such as
                           atropine (a chemical agent antidote) were not available. Training was
                           nearly complete for most emergency response personnel; however,
                           personnel protective equipment had not been purchased and training had
                           not been provided for this equipment.



A Results-Oriented         Progress in implementing CSEPP in Oregon has been hindered by planning
                           and coordination problems. We believe the application of results-oriented
Management                 principles to CSEPP could expedite emergency preparedness in Oregon’s
Framework Could            communities by improving program coordination and planning.
Enhance Oregon’s
Implementation Efforts



                           4
                            Shelter-in-place kits are not a CSEPP requirement in Washington; however, Benton County
                           decided that it would provide the kits to community members as an additional protective
                           action.




                           Page 13                               GAO/NSIAD-00-13 Chemical and Biological Defense
                            B-280639




Planning and Coordination   Oregon did not develop an overall strategic implementation plan for
Issues Have Hindered        CSEPP. Oregon does have some individual plans, such as a CSEPP annex to
                            the state emergency operations plan, a state management project plan, and
CSEPP Progress in Oregon    some local response plans. These plans, however, were not developed with
                            input and consensus from all the responsible organizations, and they lack
                            specific, agreed upon roles, responsibilities, milestones, objectives, and
                            performance measures. In addition, some of the plans have not been
                            updated to reflect demographic changes that have occurred in the region.

                            The lack of an overall strategic implementation plan has contributed to
                            coordination problems among the various CSEPP organizations
                            responsible for implementing elements of the program. Some key CSEPP
                            local officials noted that participants were sometimes confused about who
                            was responsible for the implementation of various program elements. For
                            example, Oregon’s state law makes counties responsible for emergency
                            response planning. However, officials at the county level said they lack the
                            expertise to develop the plans and that the communities should develop
                            them. Community-level officials said they lack the expertise and resources
                            to put such plans together and thus look to the counties and state for
                            guidance and assistance. As of April 28, 1999, Morrow and Umatilla
                            counties still did not have effective emergency response plans.5 In view of
                            this current situation and FEMA’s responsibility for taking the lead in
                            supporting state and local government development of emergency
                            response plans, FEMA could take a more active role with Oregon officials
                            to ensure that the plans are developed and coordinated.

                            Officials cited slow progress in acquiring tone alert radios as another
                            example where coordination was affected by disagreements that have
                            hindered efforts to increase preparedness. Because state and local officials
                            disagreed, adversely affecting coordination and reaching consensus on
                            (1) technical specifications, (2) obtaining bids for a radio that met
                            specifications, and (3) selecting a contractor that best met the
                            requirements, they have taken longer than originally anticipated to get this
                            critical CSEPP capability in place and operational.




                            5
                             Response plans include emergency operations, communication, and medical
                            responsibilities and procedures.




                            Page 14                              GAO/NSIAD-00-13 Chemical and Biological Defense
                               B-280639




Results Act Principles Could   In Oregon, results-oriented management principles could help CSEPP
Enhance CSEPP                  officials develop more complete implementation plans. These principles
                               include (1) setting overall program goals and objectives, (2) setting specific
Implementation in Oregon       performance goals, (3) identifying the roles and responsibilities of program
                               participants for goal achievement, and (4) specifying the strategies and
                               resources to be used in achieving the goals. The application of these
                               principles would in turn

                               • enhance coordination activities for all organizations participating in
                                 Oregon’s program,
                               • provide those who must first respond to a chemical emergency incident
                                 a better understanding of their roles and responsibilities, and
                               • provide a roadmap to more smoothly and quickly put the unavailable or
                                 partially available program elements in place.

                               Oregon already has had positive experience with results-oriented
                               management principles. 6 We studied Oregon and other states’ experiences
                               in implementing successful management reforms. We examined
                               management reforms that are similar to those required by the Results Act,
                               such as strategic planning and performance measurement, to assist federal
                               agencies as they implemented the Results Act. In 1994, we reported that
                               Oregon State officials found the strategic planning process to be
                               instrumental in helping stakeholders—legislators, agencies, affected
                               community groups, and others—to reach consensus on statewide goals.
                               These officials said that, by using strategic planning to develop shared
                               goals, state agencies and some local governments were able to work
                               cooperatively across organizational boundaries to implement programs
                               aimed at achieving those shared goals.

                               Washington’s program has developed coordinated, integrated emergency
                               response plans that generally follow results-oriented management
                               principles, as have communities surrounding the Deseret Chemical Depot
                               in Utah, considered the site with the most advanced program by the Army
                               and FEMA. The Washington and Utah programs have far fewer people
                               close to chemical weapons stockpiles and less complex programs than
                               Oregon; however, in both locations, organizations involved in the program
                               coordinated in developing the plans and officials at various levels had a
                               clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities. In fact, the Governor

                               6
                                Managing for Results: State Experiences Provide Insights for Federal Management
                               Reforms (GAO/GGD-95-22, Dec. 21, 1994).




                               Page 15                               GAO/NSIAD-00-13 Chemical and Biological Defense
                 B-280639




                 of Utah took a personal interest in ensuring that organizations involved in
                 Utah’s CSEPP worked together to protect the state’s citizens. Utah’s
                 officials stated that this top leadership commitment contributed to Utah’s
                 obtaining the necessary program elements.



Conclusions      Progress in implementing the chemical emergency response program in
                 Washington as well as in communities surrounding a storage site in Utah
                 was, in part, due to effective and coordinated planning. We are not making
                 any recommendations concerning Washington’s program. Oregon’s
                 implementation progress, however, could be enhanced if it improved
                 planning to clearly communicate program goals, objectives, strategies,
                 resources, milestones, and roles and responsibilities to each organization
                 and individual involved in the Chemical Stockpile Emergency
                 Preparedness Program. If FEMA worked more actively with Oregon
                 officials in developing detailed, coordinated, and integrated plans that
                 follow results-oriented management principles, Oregon could enhance its
                 emergency preparedness efforts. Such a strategy could establish a
                 framework for program coordination and implementation in which
                 everyone, including local emergency response personnel, understands their
                 role and responsibilities, the time frames within which they must be
                 achieved, and the resources available to achieve them.



Recommendation   We recommend the Director of FEMA work closely with Oregon State
                 Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program officials, Umatilla
                 and Morrow County officials, and local community officials to apply
                 results-oriented management principles in the development of an overall
                 implementation plan. Specifically, this plan should (1) identify and clarify
                 the roles and responsibilities of all the state and local government
                 organizations having a stake in implementing the Chemical Stockpile
                 Emergency Preparedness Program and (2) identify program requirements
                 and actions that must be taken to fully prepare for a chemical stockpile
                 emergency, the organization(s) responsible for taking each action
                 (including any technical or other assistance required and who will provide
                 it), and the specific amounts and sources of funding or other resources that
                 are needed and that are available for implementing each action.




                 Page 16                          GAO/NSIAD-00-13 Chemical and Biological Defense
                      B-280639




Agency Comments and   In its written comments on a draft of this report, FEMA indicated that the
                      report presents accurate information with respect to the Chemical
Our Evaluation        Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program in Oregon and Washington, as
                      it stood earlier this year. FEMA also said it agrees that the program could
                      benefit from a results-oriented management structure and cited several
                      initiatives it has under way to achieve this. FEMA also agreed that planning
                      needs greater emphasis and indicated it has obtained contractual support
                      to help Oregon in upgrading and synthesizing program implementation
                      plans. It did not, however, agree with our assessment that there were no
                      coordinated plans. FEMA stated that it would be more accurate to show
                      the existing plans as “partially” complete. FEMA did agree, however, that
                      existing plans are outdated, as noted in our report.

                      While we agree that plans and elements of plans were available for some
                      jurisdictions and/or functions, the available plans were neither current nor
                      coordinated with the other jurisdictions. Coordination is crucial in a
                      program such as the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness
                      Program, where the actions and activities of one jurisdiction could
                      potentially affect other jurisdictions. Evacuation routes, for example, must
                      be coordinated so that traffic on the major routes will flow smoothly if an
                      emergency occurs, thus alleviating congestion, confusion, and panic. Also,
                      a key aspect of results-oriented management absent in Oregon’s planning is
                      the delineation of clear roles and responsibilities. Such delineation, for
                      example, would alleviate the confusion we noted regarding the roles and
                      responsibilities of the emergency responders. For these reasons, FEMA
                      should continue to be more active in applying results-oriented principles to
                      the program in Oregon, particularly in planning and coordinating program
                      activities.

                      FEMA also provided comments on the status of the implementation of four
                      other program elements discussed in the draft report. Although we did not
                      have an opportunity to confirm the information on these elements, we
                      included FEMA’s input on two program elements—emergency operations
                      centers and tone alert radios—in a footnote to table 1. In this footnote we
                      stated that FEMA reported that the emergency operations centers were
                      operational and that distribution of the tone alert radios would begin in
                      October 1999. On training, FEMA commented that it is available at all levels
                      and is a continuous process that is never completed. Although we agree,
                      our point is that all emergency response personnel had not been given the
                      necessary training. For example, the personnel protective equipment had
                      not been issued to emergency response personnel because many had not




                      Page 17                          GAO/NSIAD-00-13 Chemical and Biological Defense
B-280639




been trained in its use. We also agree with FEMA’s comment that
decontamination equipment was available in February 1999. Our point,
however, is that the vehicles necessary to tow the decontamination
equipment where needed to cleanse residents who have been contaminated
with chemical agents had not yet been delivered. Appendix II shows the
status of these and other program elements at the time of our review.
FEMA’s comments are included in their entirety as appendix III of this
report.

DOD orally concurred with our findings, but did not offer any other
comments.

As agreed with your office, unless you publicly announce its contents
earlier, we plan no further distribution of this report until 30 days after its
issue date. At that time, we will send copies of this report to the Honorable
William Cohen, Secretary of Defense; the Honorable James Witt, Director,
Federal Emergency Management Agency; and the Honorable Jacob Lew,
Director, Office of Management and Budget. Copies will also be made
available to others upon request.

If you or your staff have any questions about this report, please call me at
(202) 512-8412. Major contributors to this report are listed in appendix IV.

Sincerely yours,




David R. Warren, Director
Defense Management Issues




Page 18                           GAO/NSIAD-00-13 Chemical and Biological Defense
Page 19   GAO/NSIAD-00-13 Chemical and Biological Defense
Appendix I

Scope and Methodology                                                                            Appendx
                                                                                                       Ii




             We obtained information from the Army and the Federal Emergency
             Management Agency (FEMA) on Chemical Stockpile Emergency
             Preparedness Program (CSEPP) policies, guidance, procedures, and
             CSEPP-funded items. We also examined a variety of planning and funding
             documents, obtained and analyzed data on the status of CSEPP-funded
             items, observed the program items in place and operational in Oregon and
             Washington, and observed an annual CSEPP exercise. Although we met
             with officials at the Umatilla and Deseret Chemical Depots where chemical
             weapons are stored, we did not assess the status of the depots’ emergency
             response practices. Also, since the FEMA Inspector General had recently
             completed a financial audit of CSEPP in Oregon, we did not include
             financial audit steps in our review.1

             To assess CSEPP’s progress in enhancing emergency preparedness in
             Oregon and Washington, we interviewed officials and obtained, analyzed,
             and reconciled data given to us by officials from the Army Program
             Manager for Chemical Demilitarization, Washington, D.C.; the Federal
             Support Center in Olney, Maryland; the Soldiers Biological and Chemical
             Command in Aberdeen, Maryland; Umatilla Chemical Depot; FEMA
             headquarters and Region 10; Oregon and Washington Emergency
             Management Agencies; the Departments of Health and Environmental
             Quality in Oregon; the counties of Umatilla and Morrow in Oregon and
             Benton County in Washington; the communities of Boardman, Echo,
             Heppner, Hermiston, Irrigon, Pendleton, Stanfield, Umatilla City, and the
             Confederated Tribes of Umatilla in Oregon, and Kennewick, Paterson,
             Prosser, and Plymouth in Washington.

             To determine whether there were lessons that could be learned from the
             program in Utah—considered the best CSEPP site by the Army and
             FEMA—we met with officials and obtained, analyzed, and reconciled data
             from the State of Utah’s Comprehensive Emergency Management Agency
             and other agencies involved in emergency management, Tooele County
             Emergency Management, Salt Lake and Utah counties, Deseret Chemical
             Depot, and FEMA Region 8. We also observed the program items in place
             and operational in Tooele County.

             We conducted our review from August 1998 through September 1999 in
             accordance with generally accepted government auditing principles.


             1
              Financial Compliance Audit of Oregon’s Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness
             Program (H-20-98, Sept. 30, 1998).




             Page 20                              GAO/NSIAD-00-13 Chemical and Biological Defense
Appendix II

Status of Program Elements Not Available or
Not Fully Operational in Oregon                                                                            Appendx
                                                                                                                 Ii




                            At the time of our review, some critical CSEPP equipment items and other
                            program elements were either not yet available or only partially complete.
                            Oregon had made progress since we last reported on its preparedness in
                            1997. The degree to which progress has been made toward getting critical
                            program elements fully in place and operational has been limited by
                            obstacles such as technical issues and disagreements over the need for
                            certain items. The following is a discussion on the critical program
                            elements that are either not yet available or only partially complete and
                            their status as of April 1999.


No Tone Alert Radios        In 1997, we reported that tone alert radios were not available in Oregon.
                            This item’s status remains unchanged. These radios are considered a
                            central component of an effective preparedness program, as they are a
                            critical item of the indoor alert and notification system that would wake
                            sleeping people indoors and inform them of what to do if a chemical agent
                            emergency occurred. Acquisition of tone alert radios was initiated by state
                            officials in 1994 and encountered several delays. The original contract for
                            the radios was canceled in April 1997. Umatilla and Morrow counties took
                            over the acquisition in March 1998, but before a contract was signed, a
                            protest by an unsuccessful bidder resulted in litigation. The protest was
                            subsequently withdrawn, and a new contract was signed in March 1999.
                            County officials indicated that the first major shipment of radios is
                            expected in October 1999. However, the radios are not expected to be
                            available and operational in all the residences, businesses, and special
                            facilities needing them until December 1999.

                            In the absence of the tone alert radios, a functioning emergency alert
                            system could serve as an interim means of notification that an accident has
                            occurred, although it would not serve to wake sleeping residents. However,
                            at the time of our review neither Umatilla nor Morrow counties had a
                            functional emergency alert system because the equipment is not
                            operational and the necessary activation authority had not been given. The
                            indoor alert and notification system relies on television and radio to
                            provide basic warnings and to notify the public of protective actions.
                            Several officials consider the lack of a functioning system to be a serious
                            program shortcoming.


Lack of Coordinated Plans   At the time of our review, there were no overall coordinated and integrated
                            plans for emergency preparedness and response. Emergency response
                            plans detailing operations and evacuation strategies had not been updated.



                            Page 21                          GAO/NSIAD-00-13 Chemical and Biological Defense
                          Appendix II
                          Status of Program Elements Not Available or
                          Not Fully Operational in Oregon




                          More recently, a draft communications plan was completed in January 1999
                          and a draft medical response plan was completed in April 1999. Although
                          these plans existed, local emergency responders generally felt that they do
                          not provide details about where personnel are supposed to go and what
                          they are supposed to do. Under Oregon law, 1 counties are responsible for
                          emergency response planning at the local level. County officials, however,
                          indicated that they lack the expertise to produce such plans and have
                          requested assistance from the state and FEMA. Oregon’s fiscal year 1999
                          CSEPP budget included $80,000 for planning and management assistance.


Emergency Operations      While neither emergency operations center was complete when we last
Centers Nearly Complete   reported in 1997, Umatilla County’s emergency operations center became
                          fully operational in March 1999 and Morrow County expected its renovated
                          center to be completed in June 1999. Although the space was not yet
                          complete, the emergency management staff had access to the necessary
                          computer and communications equipment and could obtain incident
                          information and data.


Tactical Communication    The CSEPP tactical communications system capability in Oregon was only
System Is Partially       partially operational at the time of our review. The technical problems
                          experienced in 1997 continue to impede its completion. Oregon officials
Operational               indicated that radio coverage was incomplete because not all the necessary
                          repeaters were installed. Additionally, the counties have not obtained the
                          necessary radio frequencies and have not yet finalized an integrated
                          coordinated communications plan, including the communication protocols
                          to be used during an emergency. In the absence of the necessary repeaters
                          or frequencies, emergency response personnel were unable to
                          communicate with each other or the emergency operations centers. The
                          system consists of a dedicated telephone system connecting the depot and
                          both the state and county emergency operations centers and a radio system
                          that operates independently of other public safety systems.




                          1
                           Oregon State Statute 401 states that the counties must provide emergency planning at the
                          local level.




                          Page 22                                GAO/NSIAD-00-13 Chemical and Biological Defense
                           Appendix II
                           Status of Program Elements Not Available or
                           Not Fully Operational in Oregon




Personal Protective        Some progress has been made since 1997, when neither personal protective
Equipment Available but    equipment nor chemical agent monitors were available. Personal
                           protective equipment is considered a critical response item and, according
Not Distributed            to CSEPP guidance, should be used whenever emergency personnel could
                           encounter a chemical agent during their work. Oregon also requires use of
                           chemical agent monitors because the level of protection provided by the
                           CSEPP-approved suits is insufficient to protect emergency response
                           personnel from high concentrations of chemical agents. As of April 1999,
                           Oregon had 280 personal protective suits, but had not yet distributed them
                           to emergency response personnel because the necessary health
                           assessments and training were incomplete. About 68 percent of the
                           emergency responders had completed their medical evaluations and
                           48 percent of eligible responders had completed their respiratory training
                           at the time of our review. According to the personal protective equipment
                           coordinator, once the training is completed, the equipment can be
                           distributed. The coordinator anticipates completing the training and
                           distributing the equipment by December 1999.

                           In January 1999, the Army agreed to provide improved chemical agent
                           monitors to Oregon. Under the current agreement, the Army is to provide
                           10 monitors to Umatilla County and 10 to Morrow County. The Army also
                           agreed to instruct personnel on the use of monitors and to maintain and, if
                           necessary, replace malfunctioning monitors. The monitors are at the
                           Umatilla depot and will be distributed once the required training is
                           completed.


Trucks Needed to Pull      Although personnel decontamination equipment is currently available in
Decontamination Trailers   Oregon, Morrow County did not have the necessary tow vehicles. The
                           counties have had the four decontamination trailers since December 1998.
                           However, completed delivery of Umatilla County’s tow vehicles had not
                           occurred as of April 1999, and Morrow County’s tow vehicles were not
                           expected until June 1999. Deliveries of Oregon’s tow vehicles have been
                           delayed because of the manufacturer’s production schedule. Making
                           personnel decontamination equipment available to cleanse residents who
                           have been contaminated with chemical agent is considered to be an urgent
                           priority as it minimizes adverse health effects and prevents the spread of
                           agents to others.




                           Page 23                                GAO/NSIAD-00-13 Chemical and Biological Defense
                              Appendix II
                              Status of Program Elements Not Available or
                              Not Fully Operational in Oregon




Some Shelter-in-Place Kits    Shelter-in-place kits were not available in 1997. Shelter-in-place kits are
Are Now Available             necessary because residents may not have time to evacuate due to the
                              depot’s proximity. Although Morrow County distributed 1,200 kits in
                              March 1999, it needs an additional 2,800 kits to protect all the households in
                              the affected area. Morrow County is seeking funding from FEMA to
                              purchase the additional kits. At the time of our review, Umatilla County had
                              not purchased the approximately 13,000 kits it needs. The kits will be
                              distributed via mail. Originally, Umatilla County planned to distribute the
                              kits in conjunction with tone alert radios. Delays in obtaining the radios,
                              however, require that a new distribution plan be developed. Shelter-in-place
                              enhancements can be as simple as using shelter-in-place kits for taping
                              doors and windows or as elaborate as installing pressurized air filtration
                              systems.


Pressurization Projects Are   Oregon has completed pressurizing 11 schools—9 in Umatilla County and
Partially Complete            2 in Morrow County. However, over-pressurization systems have not yet
                              been installed at a hospital and a nursing home, where they are also
                              required. In addition to the already pressurized schools, a new school being
                              built in Umatilla County is also to be pressurized. Pressurization is part of
                              the approved design and funding for the project. Pressurization systems
                              draw outside air into the shelter through a filter that removes chemical
                              agents. The pressure from the filtered air increases to the point that the
                              contaminated air from the outside cannot leak into the facility.
                              Pressurization is considered necessary for facilities near the depot that
                              have insufficient time to evacuate.


Medical Capabilities in       Medical capabilities—including those related to training, supplies, and
Oregon Are Partially          equipment—are partially complete. Oregon hired a medical preparedness
                              officer in August 1998 to develop a medical plan and train emergency
Complete                      response personnel and hospital staff on the signs, symptoms, and
                              treatments associated with chemical agents. A draft medical plan was
                              completed in April 1999 and is currently being reviewed by the Army and
                              the Centers for Disease Control. Medical training has been completed for
                              approximately 80 percent (217) of emergency responders, medical
                              technicians, doctors, and nurses. However, Oregon does not have all the
                              necessary medical supplies. According to the medical officer,
                              approximately half of the supplies are on hand and the other half have yet
                              to be purchased. Among the most critical medical items not yet available is




                              Page 24                                GAO/NSIAD-00-13 Chemical and Biological Defense
                             Appendix II
                             Status of Program Elements Not Available or
                             Not Fully Operational in Oregon




                             the chemical agent antidote atropine. The hospitals also need equipment
                             such as tents and personal protective equipment.


Training of Emergency        Oregon has made some progress on this program element since 1997.
Response Personnel Is        Training addresses activities associated with emergency preparedness,
                             such as chemical awareness, use of personal protective equipment, and
Incomplete                   decontamination. Oregon has conducted medical training for most first
                             responders, doctors, nurses, and emergency medical technicians. It has not
                             completed training for personal protective equipment because the
                             necessary health evaluations are not complete. Another factor limiting
                             progress was scheduling of the available training to correspond with the
                             availability of emergency response personnel who are, for the most part,
                             volunteers. Initially, training classes were not offered at times, such as
                             evenings and weekends, when the volunteers could attend. At the time of
                             our review, state and county officials were developing a training schedule
                             to accommodate the volunteers’ schedules.


Additional Equipment and     Officials in both Umatilla and Morrow Counties said they have insufficient
Supply Items Are Needed in   buses to evacuate all the school children in their counties. Accordingly,
                             both counties requested funding for additional buses in the fiscal year 1999
Oregon                       budget, which was denied by FEMA headquarters. Umatilla County
                             requested two additional buses for schools in the town of Echo. In
                             justifying the request to FEMA, Umatilla County stated that the current bus
                             fleet was not adequate to evacuate all the students and employees in the
                             Echo School District. Although FEMA headquarters declined to fund the
                             buses, both the state and FEMA Region 10 agreed that the buses are
                             needed. FEMA Region 10 indicated that it would find some way to obtain
                             the buses, such as from another part of the Oregon program. Two buses are
                             currently being purchased by the Echo School District and will be paid for
                             with CSEPP funds. Morrow County requested six additional buses in the
                             fiscal year 1999 budget. According to the Morrow County CSEPP manager,
                             not all the students could be evacuated in one trip from Boardman because
                             half the buses were currently located in Irrigon and the other half were in
                             Boardman. Moreover, the county believed that additional buses were
                             needed to evacuate students from a new special education facility in
                             Irrigon.

                             Another area of concern was supplies for pressurized schools. These
                             supplies include ready-to-eat meals and blankets that would be used by
                             students and faculty if sheltering-in-place were required. Morrow County



                             Page 25                                GAO/NSIAD-00-13 Chemical and Biological Defense
Appendix II
Status of Program Elements Not Available or
Not Fully Operational in Oregon




had purchased and distributed some emergency supplies and had sufficient
amounts for its pressurized facilities if sheltering-in-place were required
today. However, Umatilla County had not yet purchased its school supplies.
The county and FEMA have agreed to maintain enough supplies for a
12-hour period. Funding for the supplies was included in the fiscal year
1999 budget, and the county anticipates having the supplies in schools by
September 1999, when the new school year begins.




Page 26                                GAO/NSIAD-00-13 Chemical and Biological Defense
Appendix III

Comments From the Federal Emergency
Management Agency                                                      AppendxIi




               Page 27   GAO/NSIAD-00-13 Chemical and Biological Defense
Appendix III
Comments From the Federal Emergency
Management Agency




Page 28                               GAO/NSIAD-00-13 Chemical and Biological Defense
Appendix IV

GAO Contacts and Staff Acknowledgments                                                              Appendx
                                                                                                          iIV




GAO Contacts          Charles I. Patton, Jr. (202) 512-4412
                      Kenneth R. Knouse, Jr. (202) 512-9280



Acknowledgments       In addition to those named above, Yolanda Cuellar-el-Serwy, F. Earl
                      Morrison, Randolph D. Jones, and Julie M. Hirshen made key contributions
                      to this report.




(709364)      Leter   Page 29                         GAO/NSIAD-00-13 Chemical and Biological Defense
Ordering Information

The first copy of each GAO report and testimony is free.
Additional copies are $2 each. Orders should be sent to the
following address, accompanied by a check or money order made
out to the Superintendent of Documents, when necessary, VISA and
MasterCard credit cards are accepted, also.

Orders for 100 or more copies to be mailed to a single address are
discounted 25 percent.

Orders by mail:

U.S. General Accounting Office
P.O. Box 37050
Washington, DC 20013

or visit:

Room 1100
700 4th St. NW (corner of 4th and G Sts. NW)
U.S. General Accounting Office
Washington, DC

Orders may also be placed by calling (202) 512-6000
or by using fax number (202) 512-6061, or TDD (202) 512-2537.

Each day, GAO issues a list of newly available reports and
testimony. To receive facsimile copies of the daily list or any list
from the past 30 days, please call (202) 512-6000 using a touchtone
phone. A recorded menu will provide information on how to obtain
these lists.

For information on how to access GAO reports on the INTERNET,
send an e-mail message with “info” in the body to:

info@www.gao.gov

or visit GAO’s World Wide Web Home Page at:

http://www.gao.gov
United States                       Bulk Rate
General Accounting Office      Postage & Fees Paid
Washington, D.C. 20548-0001           GAO
                                 Permit No. GI00
Official Business
Penalty for Private Use $300

Address Correction Requested