Protecting the Communities Surrounding Your Facility
Dow Chemical Canada, Inc. has a 2,128 acre manufacturing site at Fort Saskatchewan that uses natural gas and salt to produce basic chemicals and plastics.
In 1961 the facility began manufacturing products for the agricultural, oil, gas, transportation, and pulp and paper industries. Dow established the site in Fort Saskatchewan because the location offered a plentiful supply of low-cost natural resources needed to make these products.
Fort Saskatchewan's Dow plant receives liquefied natural gas and separates it into five hydrocarbon products, four of which are delivered to customers on the outside. The fifth product, ethane, remains on-site for use as the basis of a number of other chemicals, including polyethylene and ethylene dichloride.
It has always been a priority for Dow to safeguard the lives and property of the community surrounding its sites in the case of an emergency. Since 1987, the Fort Saskatchewan facility has utilized a gas dispersion-modeling platform for emergency responses, and in 1996, it implemented a computer modeling system for chemical releases that could potentially impact off-site locations.
Due to its commitment to maintaining the highest level of community and employee safety, Dow demands a site-specific chemical emergency response solution that is recognized as an industry best-practice solution.
In 2004, Dow Chemical Canada recognized the need to upgrade their situational analysis for loss of containment events. The solution they were using was a DOS-based program without an upgrade path and a shrinking user base. The site set out objectives key to their needs: cost competitive, 24-hour support, easy to use, and provided fast, defendable visualization for decision making during an event. The system would also have to satisfy the new Environment Canada "Environment Emergency Plan" (EEP) requirement which requires that the site be able to provide surrounding communities with prompt and reliable notification of toxic releases.
Dow's Environmental Health and Safety team identified the emergency response boundaries and criteria the new system had to meet. The team searched for the best-practice solution that would both satisfy the company's expectations as well as those of the EEP. The search resulted in Dow Chemical choosing SAFER Real-Time® to fulfill all of its requirements for the Fort Saskatchewan site.
SAFER Real-Time® met all of the objectives that Dow was seeking for overall situational analysis. It is a highly integrated, modular, chemical emergency management solution used with real-time sensor data equipped to detect the release of toxic chemicals at the earliest stages and predict, in real time, how a particular plume will disperse over time in a specific geographic area. The solution allows the user to make more informed and rapid decisions when responding to a chemical emergency and to conduct thorough post-event analyses after an event has occurred.
SAFER's Real-Time® mathematical algorithms combine weather information with information about the site's chemical and physical properties, release scenario and topography to prepare for all possible emergencies including toxic vapor cloud, fire and explosion. Its pre-defined scenarios enhance the speed and accuracy of incident planning and response while its wireless GPS enabled gas sensors and fixed sensors enable SAFER's patented Advanced Back Calculation™ to estimate release rate.
The SAFER Real-Time® solution was implemented because it is operator-friendly and cost-effective, provides extremely fast models, and can be run manually, if desired.
Dow in Fort Saskatchewan has a reliable, state-of-the-art, and effective solution for response to toxic gas releases with SAFER Real-Time®. The solution serves as an integral part of Dow's emergency planning exercises, as well as monthly reviews and skills improvement sessions.
SAFER Real-Time® truly exceeded Dow's expectations beyond emergency management. Dow's Public Affairs group uses the solutions to streamline their offsite notification process, and their Environmental group moved their real-time ambient air alarm monitoring over to the Real-Time® solution for improved sensor monitoring.