South Coast AQMD's Emergency Response Policy

What kind of emergencies does South Coast AQMD respond to?

At the request of local police, fire and health departments, South Coast AQMD responds to emergencies such as fires, explosions, toxic spills and toxic gas releases at industrial and commercial facilities and other sources. South Coast AQMD also dispatches its Emergency Response Team to events with significant public air quality impacts.

What is South Coast AQMD's role?

South Coast AQMD supports the public safety agencies such as fire and police that are responsible for primary incident command. South Coast AQMD does not assume primary incident command during emergencies.

What does South Coast AQMD do in the event of such emergencies?

South Coast AQMD can monitor wind speed and direction and provide meteorologists for consultation. The agency has computer modeling capabilities to predict how pollutants will disperse in a community. In addition, South Coast AQMD's Emergency Response Team members can collect ambient air samples near emergency sites and return them to the agency's laboratory in Diamond Bar for analysis. South Coast AQMD staff are not equipped to be present in the immediate proximity of a fire or toxic spill and therefore do not enter the so-called "hot zone." However, South Coast AQMD is prepared to supply fire departments with equipment for sampling in close proximity to emergency incidents.

What can South Coast AQMD test for?

South Coast AQMD's laboratory can test for a wide range of constituents such as hydrocarbons, particulates, asbestos, metals and specific carcinogens such as benzene. Lab analysis typically takes a few hours to complete.

What kind of emergencies does the agency not respond to?

South Coast AQMD is not equipped to monitor, test or respond to any emergencies involving biological or radioactive agents. However, in the event of a bioterrorism attack or similar incident, South Coast AQMD would do everything within its capabilities to support lead agencies.

What does South Coast AQMD advise residents to do during emergencies?

Local fire departments are responsible for determining if and when nearby residents are evacuated following a major fire or industrial explosion. Since local fire departments have expertise in such decisions, South Coast AQMD urges residents to promptly follow fire departments' emergency directions. In areas on the periphery of an incident, when thick, visible smoke or heavy odors are present, South Coast AQMD recommends common sense measures such as staying indoors and closing windows to avoid breathing smoke and fumes. Similarly, motorists should close windows and vents when driving through areas where smoke or strong odors are present.

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South Coast Air Quality Management District

21865 Copley Dr, Diamond Bar, CA 91765



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