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Report: First responders need more information about high-risk facilities

DHS should encourage greater access to and use of online data and tools

Posted August 14, 2018

Facilities that produce, use, or store hazardous chemicals could be targeted or used by terrorists to inflict mass casualties, damage, and fear. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) inspects these facilities to ensure they comply with security standards, and shares information about them with local officials so that first responders are prepared for potential security incidents.

In its recent assessment of DHS’s processes, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that first responders may not have all the information they need to safely respond to incidents at these facilities.

GAO recommends that DHS take actions to (1) measure reduction in vulnerability of high-risk facilities and use that data to assess program performance; and (2) encourage access to and wider use of its Infrastructure Protection (IP) Gateway among first responders and emergency planners. The IP Gateway provides various data collection, analysis, and response tools in one integrated system through a single user registration, management, and authentication process.

DHS agreed with GAO’s recommendations and has already begun working on them.

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