Hazardous Substances Emergency Events Surveillance

What is the Hazardous Substances Emergency Events Surveillance (HSEES) system?

The HSEES system is a surveillance database established to provide data that can be used to reduce the illnesses and deaths resulting from acute hazardous substance releases. The system is funded by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and operates in 15 states, including Louisiana. The system has four goals:

  • To describe the distribution and characteristics of acute hazardous substances releases.
  • To describe the illnesses (morbidity) and deaths (mortality) experienced by employees, responders and the general public as a result of hazardous substance releases or threatened releases.
  • To identify risk factors associated with the morbidity and mortality.
  • To identify strategies that may reduce future morbidity and mortality resulting from the release of hazardous substances.

What types of events are included in the HSEES System?

An event is included in the database if it is an uncontrolled or illegal release of any hazardous substance (excluding petroleum only events) that needs to be removed, cleaned up or neutralized according to the federal, state or local law. Threatened releases are also included if the threat leads to an action to protect public health (e.g. evacuation).

What data are collected?

Data collected for the surveillance database include information about the following:

  • Location of the release
  • Time and date of the release
  • Amount of substance released
  • Substance(s) released
  • Number and severity of injuries
  • Personal protective equipment
  • Number of people decontaminated
  • Follow-up activities
  • Any evacuations or in-place sheltering
  • Release site (fixed facility or transportation)
  • Contributing factors (e.g. human error or equipment failure)
  • Potential for community exposure based on land usage in area impaced

How are data collected?

SEET collects company reports of hazardous releases primarily from the Louisiana State Police (LSP) and the National Response Center (NRC). SEET also identifies releases reported by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the media. For detailed data, SEET contacts the responsible company, firefighters, police, medical personnel, HAZMAT teams and others who respond to these events.

Does data collection involve any contact with private industry?

Yes, SEET obtains information from all knowledgeable parties. Representatives of private industry have been very helpful in providing accurate information about events.

How does the system fit into statewide efforts of hazardous materials management and safety?

As a result of information obtained through HSEES, SEET is able to work with industry, government agencies and other parties to see that corrective measures and/or necessary training are provided to reduce subsequent morbidity and mortality when comparable events occur in the future.

How can I contribute to the program?

This program relies on reports of hazardous substances releases from the LSP, NRC and other sources so that all qualifying releases can be included in the database. In addition, we rely on the public to report releases of hazardous substances to the appropriate agency. Any future benefit from the program can only occur if the data collected are complete and accurate. The success of the program depends on the cooperation of those who can provide the information.

How can I report a release?

Releases can be reported by calling the Louisiana State Police (LSP) at (225) 925-6595 or toll free at (877) 925-6595, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) at (225) 219-3640 Monday - Friday from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm or after hours, including holidays and weekends, at (225) 342-1234, or by calling the National Response Center (NRC) at 1-800-424-8802.