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Science of Chemical Releases (SOCR) Training at the NOAA Disaster Response Center

APRIL 1, 2016--For years, NOAA's Office of Response and Restoration (OR&R) has been offering the popular Science of Oil Spills classes to oil spill responders and planners. But oil isn't the only hazardous material for which we have expertise!

To share our expertise in new ways, OR&R hosted its first official Science of Chemical Releases (SOCR) class March 21–24, 2016 at NOAA’s Gulf of Mexico Disaster Response Center in Mobile, Alabama.

Students comprising federal, state, and local responders and industry representatives used a train derailment scenario with multiple chemical releases to evaluate and understand the risks and hazards associated with a release of chemicals into the environment. Students were provided with an introduction to the tools, resources, and basic science of chemical releases. Besides learning critical information about hazards from chemicals, the students received hands-on training in the use of specific tools developed by NOAA, such as CAMEO Chemicals, ALOHA, and MARPLOT. Tools such as these allow responders to better prepare for and respond to chemical spills by helping to answer fundamental response questions, such as:

  • What is the hazard?
  • How will the chemical behave in the environment?
  • How might the chemical harm people or the environment?
  • What can be done to minimize or mitigate the hazards?

At the end of the class, members of the National Strike Force Gulf Strike Team provided an equipment demonstration tailored to the release scenario. The demonstration provided the students an opportunity to interact with technical experts and better understand what equipment may be used and integrated into chemical release response.

OR&R plans to offer the SOCR class again next year.

For more information, contact

Go back to OR&R Weekly Report.

Man speaking to a group of people in front of a screen.
NOAA Scientific Support Coordinator Greg Schweitzer presents on the response to the wreck of the tank barge Argo. (NOAA)