The Photo Album
The orange cloud in this scene is a release of Nitric Acid in progress. It came from tanks at an "agricultural" operation that did not understand it had to report the Nitric Acid under EPCRA Section 302, and the "release" under EPCRA Section 304 and CERCLA Section 103. The firefighters did not know what this colored plume was because of the failure to report. FORTUNATELY, the cloud was colored and visible. Not all spills are colored. Not all spills are during daylight hours either. The neighbors called the fire department, not the facility.

Note the firefighters suiting up in protective gear. Other hazardous chemicals were stored at this facility, and the Nitric Acid ate into the other tanks. This was something the facility owner/operator never considered could happen. Over 200 people reported adverse health effects from exposure to the Nitric Acid fumes in a follow-up health survey.

Photo #1
No one could tell just by looking at these containers what chemicals are in them because they are not labled. But some of these containers have strong acids in them. Putting water on acids can cause an explosion. A well-written Tier Two Report would be helpful here to a firefighter, but more detailed information would even be better. The BOLDER Project has the answer to this.

Photo #2
This tank is part of an Anhydrous (waterless) Ammonia refrigeration system. Until citizens brought suit to make the facility file Tier Two Reports, it had not complied with EPCRA. The plastic tank was behind the building and next to railroad tracks. The Anhydrous Ammonia refrigeration system held over 5,000 pounds of Anhydrous Ammonia, enough to affect people on the nearby and busy Interstate highway if the system spilled and the winds had carried the fumes there. What would emergency responders have done if this happened? They would not have known the source of the Ammonia.

Photo #3
These enormous tanks of Hydrogen and Oxygen were not reported until citizens brought suit to make the facility file Tier Two Reports and comply with EPCRA. There had also been problems with these tanks leaking! This potential bomb was in an industrial park. Imagine the firefighters trying to respond to such a catastrophe! The names of the chemicals are on the tanks, but not easy to discern. The facility also had reportable quantities of Hydrofluoric Acid.
Photo #4
This well-labeled tank of Hydrogen does not have 10,000 pounds of Hydrogen, so a Tier Two Report is not required if this is all the Hydrogen on-site at the facility. Of course, it would be a good idea to report it anyway. There is still enough Hydrogen to cause a problem.
Photo #5
The largest tank has a type of freon in it, enough to be reported on a Tier Two Report. Imagine a firefighter rolling up on this scene in the middle of the night while trying to respond to a chemical spill or fire. No labels visible, view partially obscured. All the firefighters would know is that there is a large tank of something, and other tanks. Unless the firefighters had the Tier Two Reports with them, an efficient response would be difficult. The BOLDER Project helps to solve this problem by putting real-time site information in the hands of firefighters at the scene, complete with site-maps, photo attachments, and more.

Photo #6
This complex site has a number of different industrial gases. With the Tier Two information, firefighters would still have a difficult time dealing with a fire at this facility, which actually had explosions and fires two years after this photo was taken. The explosions sent debris flying into the air that damaged neighboring businesses. The heat of the fire destroyed many automobiles parked nearby. These enormous tanks and smaller ones were not reported until citizens brought suit to make the facility file Tier Two Reports and comply with EPCRA. The facility had actually sent in a letter stating that it did not have enough on-site to require reporting! Fortunately, alert citizens brought EPCRA citizen suit BEFORE the disaster occurred, and made emergency and disaster training for the site's employees part of the settlement. Even with EPCRA compliance, accidents will happen. The firefighters had access to the facility's Tier Two Reports and site information, and they knew to NOT pour water on certain chemicals at the site that form acetylene gas (flammable) when exposed to water.