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Community Relations During Emergency Responses

Good communication is essential to keep local officials and citizens informed during an emergency response action. Public involvement can help to save lives should an evacuation or other emergency response action be required. EPA's community relations program serves to:

  • Provide information to the community on the health and environmental effects of the release;
  • Provide information on the response actions under consideration;
  • Encourage citizens to provide information about the site and its surrounding areas;
  • Encourage citizens to express any concerns about the actions being undertaken; and
  • Include citizen comments and concerns in the decision-making process at an emergency response site.

An official EPA spokesperson is appointed for each emergency response action to keep the public informed and to respond to any questions. Common activities include:

  • meeting with citizens in the community,
  • responding to inquiries from the media, and
  • providing local officials with site status.

EPA also establishes a written record that contains information about the emergency response action and makes this record available to the public.