The Awareness and Preparedness for Emergency at Local Level Programme (APELL) was developed by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) with the aim of minimizing the occurrence and non-desired effects of technological accidents. APELL strategy is based on identifying and creating awareness of industrial risks, developing measures for risk reduction and mitigation and promoting emergency preparedness by means of a coordinated planning between the industry, the local authorities and the local population. The APELL was launched in 1986 by UNEP in cooperation with governments and the chemical industry. This initiative followed various major technological accidents mainly Bhopal accident.
Notwithstanding the enormous ongoing efforts and the significant progress so far attained in the last few years to increase our knowledge about the root causes of major accidents in process plants and even in spite of the remarkable progress in many countries applying APELL Process, such disastrous occurrences keep on happening.
By late 1995 and after the visit of a number of UNEP international experts, Bahia Blanca was selected by the United Nations and the national and provincial authorities as the pilot project city to start the application of APELL Process with the support and under the monitoring of the United Nations.
We review the Bahía Blanca Case Study where the APELL process was implemented, emphasizing the improvements made in the field of preparedness and mitigation and alternatives procedures develop to educate the general community on the integrated emergency plan. Risk Assessment is one of the key points in the APELL methodology and many Process Safety elements were used to develop the community risk evaluation.
This paper describes the impact that:
- A Chlorine and Ammonia leakage in two Petrochemical plants ( August 2000) and
- An explosion in a Refinery ( August 2011)
Had in the neighboring community and in the application of the APELL Process. The mitigation plan and the EP&R organizations and community response implementation will be discussed in this paper.
Another point to present will be the model of cooperative initiative between Bahía Blanca APELL Process, other local organization and NFPA to align the Community Emergency Planning to NFPA 1600 – Emergency Planning and Business Continuity
Considerations will be made on the potential benefits of the coordinated efforts of the APELL Process and Process Safety Organizations with the aim of increase the awareness and the knowledge about Process Safety.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The author has 15 years as the coordinator of the APELL Process in Argentina on behalf of UNEP. He is member of the Senior APELL expert group. He gave many conferences in different countries of Latin American and in Sweden, Switzerland, Mexico and USA about Risk Assessment, Emergency Planning and APELL Process.
Recently, he has been involved with UNEP in the Promoting Safer Operations and Emergency Preparedness in Chemical Sector - China project. As member of the consultant group of this project, participated in different Seminar in Zhanjgiagan, Beijing and Bedehie China in August 2009/ April 2010 and September 2010.
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