NOAA 2006-R464
Contact: Glenda Powell
NOAA News Releases 2006
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The most widely used chemical emergency response and planning tool in the U.S., CAMEO, will celebrate its 20th anniversary this year. In 1986, scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration worked with Seattle-area firefighters to create a unique software product designed for emergency responders to hazardous chemical incidents. The current version of Computer-Aided Management of Emergency Operations, or CAMEO, is the result of many years of collaboration between NOAA scientists who specialize in emergency response and chemical emergency planners at the Environmental Protection Agency.

Emergency responders can use CAMEO to learn quickly about the chemicals involved in an accident. Responders and emergency planners can also keep track of the locations of dangerous chemicals, as well as sensitive places like schools, hospitals and nursing homes. Using CAMEO, they can predict the possible effects of toxic gas releases, fires and explosions quickly. CAMEO places critical information about the toxicity, behavior, and movement of chemicals in the hands of first responders through an easy-to-use computer interface.

If you live in the United States, chances are that your city’s fire department uses CAMEO. Since the terrorist attacks of September 11th, CAMEO has experienced a ten-fold increase in use. During the past three years, there have been more than 200,000 downloads of CAMEO, which is free and available on the internet. Each year, thousands of first responders and emergency planners are trained to use CAMEO in classes led by more than 100 CAMEO-certified instructors.

CAMEO’s developers at NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration have ambitious plans for further development of the program. Developers will continue to focus on their highest priorities: supporting safer emergency response and effective emergency planning.

To commemorate CAMEO’s 20th birthday NOAA is participating in an EPA-sponsored CAMEO user’s conference for emergency planners and responders, scheduled for October 26-29, 2006, in Houston, Texas. At the conference, NOAA will provide training support to the CAMEO community and refresh the relationship between CAMEO developers and users. From the beginning, when Seattle-area firefighters helped to design the first version of CAMEO, users have participated in the program’s development.

NOAA’s National Ocean Service, which includes the Office of Response & Restoration, is dedicated to exploring, understanding, conserving and restoring the nation’s coasts and oceans. It balances environmental protection with economic prosperity in fulfilling its mission to promote safe navigation, support coastal communities, sustain coastal habits and mitigate coastal hazards.

NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 60 countries, and the European Commission to develop a global network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts, and protects.

On the Web


NOAA Magazine article about CAMEO’s 20th anniversary:

CAMEO website:

CAMEO user conference:

NOAA’s CAMEO information online: