E-Mail Forum
General Chemical Release After Action Report
June 26, 2001

On May 21, a meeting was held at the request of Isiah Turner and Tom Butt to examine the events of the May 1, 2001, General Chemical release in order to determine what was both successful and unsuccessful about the management of the incident by public agencies. In attendance were the following:

Richmond Fire Chief Joseph L. Robinson, Richmond Police Chief Joseph Samuels, Richmond Council member Tom Butt, Office of Emergency Services manager Kathryn Gerk, Battalion Chief James Fajardo (RFD), Battalion Chief Michael Banks (RFD), Deputy Fire Marshal Ron Wiley (RFD), Richard Lee-KCRT, Capt. Doug Sieberling (RPD), Lt. Eugene McBride (RPD), Sgt. Michael Walters (RPD), Fire Marshal Don Perez (RFD), Commander Joe Aita (SPPD), Commander Donald Righter (SPPD), Byron Baptiste (RPD), Jim Gallagher (Contra Costa County Environmental Health Division), and Assistant City Manager Leveron Bryant.

Click here to view the Minutes of the meeting. They provide some very interesting reading. The exercise should prove very useful in improving aspects of incident management and communication in the future. I appreciate the willingness of city staff to deal with this in such an open and enthusiastic manner.

Although much of the incident was well managed, some of the problems cited by attendees included:

         Chevron was notified of the release at least one hour before Richmond Police and Fire

         Some key City staff members did not know the location of the Emergency operations center (EOC)

         KCRT was not in the initial communications loop for information about the incident.

         There is not a comprehensive checklist for the incident commander to use to make sure all requirements are covered.

         The City of San Pablo was not in the notification loop.

         The notification by General Chemical was to the Richmond Fire Department business number instead of 9-1-1.

         There was confusion among city staff about what geographic area shelter in place was required.


A follow-up meeting will be scheduled to monitor changes in practices and policies.