One of the difficulties with getting a grasp of what the situation is that there is no single group that tracks chemical accidents. You would think that the relatively new U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board link would: but according to them: no. As their site notes: “At the present time, no such comprehensive databases or statistics exist within the federal government. However, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), National Response Center (NRC), the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), and other agencies do maintain certain accidental databases that vary in scope, completeness, and level of detail.”
So in other words they investigate on an as-needed basis, and don’t track their main focus of investigation. Sounds good!
Your first responders are usually going to be your local fire fighters. But the states will generally set up some sort of emergency response team. In North Carolina the first response is going to be the Regional Response Teams (RRT) link. Each team has one special truck, and will raise to the site to contain the situation until a contractor can come in. That’s right the actual emergency is done by contractors. Hopefully, they already have some sort of time and material schedule set up: but the site does not mention this.
NC Regional Hazmat Regional Response Team
Of course when the situation gets really out of hand, like the 2006 Apex Waste Disposal Warehouse fire they punt link http://www.csb.gov/newsroom/detail.aspx?nid=22 . Apex is on the southern border of the State Capital (Raleigh). Good think large amounts of neuro-toxin were not released.
Apex Fire: from probably a mile or so away.