Securing Our Nation's Chemical Plants: What the DHS Is Doing

Risk assessments underway for major plants, other measures include security the trucking routes, detection sensors, more


Sharing Information

  • DHS is enhancing sector-specific information sharing and coordinating mechanisms for all of the 17 critical infrastructure sectors, incorporating both Information Sharing and Analysis Centers (ISACs) and Sector Coordinating Councils (SCCs). These entities have dual roles in that they serve as central points of information sharing within each of the sectors and also act as the liaison to the federal government. One of the primary functions is to funnel threat information to facilities and receive and collect information from facilities. The Chemical Sector ISAC has supported Homeland Security's information sharing efforts since the Department's inception and includes over 600 individuals representing more than 430 different chemical companies.
  • The Chemical Sector ISAC uses CHEMTREC, the chemical industry's 24-hour emergency communication center as the communication link between the Department and ISAC participants. When CHEMTREC receives information from DHS, that information is immediately transmitted, on an around-the-clock basis, to Chemical Sector ISAC participants utilizing electronic mail and a secure website.
  • The Homeland Security Information Network ' Critical Infrastructure (HSIN-CI) pilot Program is an unclassified network that immediately provides the Department's Homeland Security Operations Center (HSOC) with one-stop, 24/7 access to a broad spectrum of industries, agencies and critical infrastructure across both the public and private sectors, including chemical facilities. This conduit for two-way information sharing provides the Department with an expanding base of locally knowledgeable experts and delivers real-time access to critical information. The HSIN-CI initiative was expanded to include critical infrastructure owners and operators and the private sector in all 50 states centered regionally around the cities of Dallas, Seattle, Indianapolis and Atlanta regions. To date, HSIN-CI communicates with nearly 40,000 members.

Educating a Work Force

  • Information derived from Site Assistance Visits (SAVs) are used to create three series of sector specific reports that are disseminated to owners, operators, security planners and local law enforcement officials to integrate into their respective risk management processes. The Common Characteristics and Vulnerabilities reports highlight common issues across chemical facilities so that relevant stakeholders can address possible vulnerabilities and improve overall site security. Potential Indicators of Terrorist Attack reports give further insight to owners, operators, and law enforcement officials on how to better protect chemical facilities and, in turn, thousands of Americans in the surrounding communities. Protective Measure reports further identify categories of generally applicable protective measures, discuss implementation of select protective measures, and recommend protective measures for implementation based on the Homeland Security Advisory System threat level.
  • DHS has provided Buffer Zone Plan workshops to state and local law enforcement officials in many cities that have chemical plants in their areas.

Transportation of Hazardous Materials