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NYC fine-tunes continuity of operation plan for hazardous gases

New York City is updating its continuity of operations planning for the possibility of dangerous chemicals being released in the city.
New York City is updating its continuity of operations planning for the possibility of dangerous chemicals being released in the city.

This blog has previously discussed the importance of evacuation plans, especially when it comes to cities and towns that need to care for residents and businesses. When first responders and individuals understand what they need to do during an emergency, the continuity of operations plan will be able to run smoothly. It is crucial for all involved to understand how their actions could affect their own safety as well as that of others.

According to Bloomberg Businessweek, New York City officials are preparing for the possibility of biological or chemical warfare by releasing harmless gases into the city's streets and subway systems. The idea is to see how the material would travel, so a better preparation plan could be created.

Paul Browne, deputy commissioner of the NYPD, told the news source that if poison or another contaminant was dispersed in New York City's atmosphere – either accidentally or on purpose – it will be beneficial to know how it would travel.

"That would help guide us as to what our responders should do and what instructions we should give the public – for example, do you shelter in place or do you evacuate – and if so, in which direction," he said.

Called the Subway-Surface Air Flow Exchange test, it will occur in July on three non-consecutive days chosen for variance in weather conditions and the public will receive notification one day beforehand.

While each city can benefit from various continuity of operations planning, working with a professional consultant can help in the process. That way, everyone from emergency responders to residents know where they need to go should an evacuation be necessary and can do so in a calm and practiced manner.