Hurricane Season & Resources
The chemical industry is a vital part of our modern society as well as the backbone of South Louisiana. Our products impact your every day life. From the food we eat and the clothes we wear, to the cars we drive and the homes we live in, chemicals are used in the production of countless products.
Safety is the top priority for the Louisiana Chemical Industry. The safety of employees and the community will always be at the forefront of all that we do. Our industry also prioritizes environmental concerns and the safe production and disposal of our products. The chemical industry is one of the most highly regulated industries in the world. With that being said, there are very strict and thorough plans in place for our member companies during natural disasters such as hurricanes. In South Louisiana, we are particularly vulnerable to natural disasters and have a strategic set of plans to follow to prepare and recover.
Our companies are aware of the potential risks that come with different weather events and thus maintain a set of comprehensive emergency plans that are designed to address any emergency scenario. The plans are regularly tested and drilled to ensure that they are effective and up to date. They outline criteria that would trigger different actions, such as shutting down the facility when the wind reaches a certain speed, or the water level rises above a certain height.
Each company has a specific plan to address individual sites as well as each category of storm. These plans are developed in coordination with the local Emergency Management officials in the Parish and with the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security (GOHSEP) at the State level.
The Louisiana Chemical Association (LCA) also plays a crucial role when there is a hurricane approaching. LCA staff has a seat at the State's Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and the Business Operations Center (BEOC). LCA staff also activate internally in order to prepare and monitor the storm as well as be a resource to our member companies. Our staff are in constant communication with companies and local, state, and federal partners and resources during natural disasters.
Some other specific things our companies do in the event of a hurricane and to prepare:
Check Facility Structure
One of the most important aspects of storm-resistant construction is hardening operations to withstand damaging winds. This can involve using reinforced concrete or steel framing, as well as extra bracing and anchors to secure buildings and equipment. Additionally, many facilities build dikes and levees to contain spills in the event of flooding, and they may also elevate critical equipment and operations to avoid water damage.
Manage Onsite Personnel
To protect personnel that may remain onsite during a hurricane, there is testing and activation of backup generators to provide power in the event of an outage. Extra fuel is also procured to ensure that the generators can run for an extended period. Food supplies are checked and stocked for storm teams who may need to remain on site for an extended period. Tanks are secured and equipment is tied down to prevent damage from high winds. Additionally, materials are moved to higher ground to avoid flooding and water damage.
Facility Monitoring and Plant Operations
There are emergency crews that are utilized during hurricanes. These crews are comprised of highly trained employees who are responsible for closely monitoring facilities during the storm to ensure everyone's safety. The crew is trained to make on-the-spot decisions in emergency situations, and they work tirelessly to prevent any incidents or releases that could potentially harm individuals or the environment. Should any incidents occur, the ride out crew will report them to local authorities and government agencies. Safety of the environment is a top priority always and one of the measures companies may take is reducing operations, shutting down a facility, and/or evacuating personnel in advance of a hurricane. Facilities have highly regulated plans in place for safe shutdown and restart of processes, and safety and security plans for securing the premises during a shutdown. These plans are designed to ensure that the facility can be safely restarted as soon as possible after the hurricane has passed, while minimizing any potential risks to the employees and the community and heavily monitoring all emissions.
Post Hurricane Analysis
Before companies consider bringing employees back onsite and restoring operations in a facility, they send recovery crews to assess for any damage or remaining hazards. Each facility produces a post-hurricane report that details any incidents or occurrences that happened during the storm. These reports are shared with all emergency officials and reviewed in depth. These help to improve the current plans in place and address any issues found during the hurricane.
We encourage you to review your own individual hurricane plan whether that be personally or for your business. We encourage you to please review the resources below and keep these bookmarked. Remember to keep all emergency numbers on hand in case of an emergency.
Check out our printable hurricane checklist below!
- GOHSEP Hurricane Information
- Louisiana DEQ
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
- National Hurricane Center
- National Hurricane Center (NHC) Storm surge maps
- American Chemistry Council Hurricane Tips
- American Chemistry Council Severe Weather Preparedness