Computer-Aided Management of Emergency Operations

Computer-Aided Management of Emergency Operations

CAMEO® is a system of software applications used widely to plan for and respond to chemical emergencies. It is one of the tools developed by EPA’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Office of Response and Restoration (NOAA), to assist front-line chemical emergency planners and responders. They can use CAMEO to access, store, and evaluate information critical for developing emergency plans. In addition, CAMEO supports regulatory compliance by helping users meet the chemical inventory reporting requirements of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA, also known as SARA Title III). CAMEO also can be used with a separate software application called LandView® to display EPA environmental databases and demographic/economic information to support analysis of environmental justice issues.

The CAMEO system integrates a chemical database and a method to manage the data, an air dispersion model, and a mapping capability. All modules work interactively to share and display critical information in a timely fashion. The CAMEO system is available in Macintosh and Windows formats.


CAMEO initially was developed because NOAA recognized the need to assist first responders with easily accessible and accurate response information. Since 1988, EPA and NOAA have collaborated to augment CAMEO to assist both emergency responders and planners. CAMEO has been enhanced to provide emergency planners with a tool to enter local information and develop incident scenarios to better prepare for chemical emergencies. The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Coast Guard have worked with EPA and NOAA to continue to enhance the system.

Why was CAMEO Created?

Rapid action by firefighter, police, and other emergency response personnel often is severely hampered by lack of accurate information on the substance spilled and safe response actions. Emergency planners lack a tool to store and easily use information that is essential for emergency planning.

Who Uses CAMEO?

* Firefighters * State Emergency Response Commissions (SERCs) and Tribal Emergency Response Commissions (TERCs) * Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs) * Industry * Schools * Environmental Organizations * Police Departments

What is in CAMEO?

CAMEO is actually a suite of three separate, integrated software applications: CAMEO, MARPLOT, and ALOHA.

CAMEO - The Database and Information Management

The original application, called CAMEO, contains a chemical database of over 6,000 hazardous chemicals, 80,000 synonyms, and product trade names. CAMEO provides a powerful search engine that allows users to find chemicals instantly. Each one is linked to chemical-specific information on fire and explosive hazards, health hazards, firefighting techniques, cleanup procedures, and protective clothing. CAMEO also contains basic information on facilities that store chemicals, on the inventory of chemicals at the facility (Tier II) and on emergency planning resources. Additionally, there are templates where users can store EPCRA information. CAMEO connects the planner or emergency responder with critical information to identify unknown substances during an incident.

MARPLOT - Mapping Applications for Response, Planning, and Local Operational Tasks

MARPLOT is the mapping application. It allows users to "see" their data (e.g., roads, facilities, schools, response assets), display this information on computer maps, and print the information on area maps. The areas contaminated by potential or actual chemical release scenarios also can be overlaid on the maps to determine potential impacts. The maps are created from the Census Bureau TIGER/Line files and can be manipulated quickly to show possible hazard areas.

ALOHA - Areal Locations of Hazardous Atmospheres

ALOHA is an atmospheric dispersion model used for evaluating releases of hazardous chemical vapors. ALOHA allows the user to estimate the downwind dispersion of a chemical cloud based on the toxicological/physical characteristics of the released chemical, atmospheric conditions, and specific circumstances of the release. Graphical outputs include a "cloud footprint" that can be plotted on maps with MARPLOT to display the location of other facilities storing hazardous materials and vulnerable locations, such as hospitals and schools. Specific information about these locations can be extracted from CAMEO information modules to help make decisions about the degree of hazard posed.

Hardware and Software Requirements

Hardware Requirements

* PC: Intel-compatible Pentium-class computer; 256 MB RAM, hard disk drive with 60 MB of free hard drive space, SVGA color display.
* Macintosh: Macintosh computer with a G3, G4, or G5 processor; 256 MB RAM, hard disk drive with 60 MB of free hard drive space.

oftware requirements

* PC: Windows 2000 (Service Pack 4), Windows XP (Service Pack 2).
* Macintosh: Mac OS 10.3.9 or 10.4.

External links

* The CAMEO page at EPA. []
* The CAMEO page at NOAA. []

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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