In an emergency situation, in the event of a proven or imminent technological hazard for humans or the environment, the CASU (Emergency Situation Support Unit) provides immediate decision-making assistance to public authorities or industrialists. Upon their request, it provides the real-time information and technical advice which they need in order to better understand and manage the accidental situation (beyond radiological and biological risks).
Its stand-by duty system involves 2 specialised permanent employees who ensure technical contact with the requester and a shift operating supervisor representing INERIS Headquarters.
Supported by the expertise potential of the INERIS, the CASU can, depending on the areas of involvement, mobilise all or part of the expertise capabilities of the Institute.
Its involvement as a decision support for public authorities was established by the interministerial circular of July 15, 2005.
The network of partners
The CASU relies on a network of partners capable of being consulted when searching for response elements to certain emergency situations, in particular:
- The CEDRE (Centre for Documentation, Research and Experimentation on Accidental Water Pollution)
- The IRSN (Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety) with which agreements have been signed.
The operation of CASU and coordination with the various crisis management partners are tested regularly during national and international accident simulation exercises.
Areas of involvement
- Transmission of information about the substances directly involved or those capable of forming during the accident (smoke components, decomposition products…).
- Transmission of information about past and similar accidents to the event in progress.
- Analysis of the risks depending on the nature of the event.
- Characterisation of the hazardous events and modelling of their effects.
- Assessment of the risks associated with disaster control equipment, in cooperation with emergency services and those responsible for managing the accident.
The INERIS, a member of the Scientific Interest Group for Crisis Management Assistance AGECRIS
This group is intended to conduct, develop and coordinate research and development programmes associated with increasing awareness in the event of a crisis, in particular by implementing emergency means.
Examples of involvement
- Identification of risks having a domino effect following a fire in an air vent to a flammable products storage facility in a refinery.
- Expert appraisal of the toxicity of substances derived from incomplete combustion of the residues of a fire in a large hazardous products storage facility.
- Assessment of the consequences possibly resulting from accident scenarios during lifting of a transport wagon for hazardous materials.
- Expert appraisal of the toxic, explosion and contamination-related risks to the environment for various emission scenarios for a benzene barge involved in an accident on the Rhône.