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Crisis Management: Explosion in Toulouse

1. In a narrative format, summarize the key facts and issues of the case.

2. Update the information in the case by researching it on the Internet. Focus your response on the specific issues in the case.

3. Discuss two successful cases of organizations that managed their crisis successfully. What steps did they take to effectively manage the crisis? What criteria did you use to measure the success of their crisis management interventions?

4. Assume that you are the leader of the crisis management team (CMT) of a facility that has hazardous materials in storage for future use in manufacturing your products. Formulate a crisis management plan (CMP) that would prepare the facility and the organization for potential crises. Be specific and detailed in the development process.

(Answer each question in 300 words)


Solution Preview

Step 1
On September 21, 2001, an accident at Atofina's Grande Paroisse fertilizer plant took place in Toulouse, France. When the explosion happened at the fertilizer plant there were 30 persons dead and 2,000 injuries.. Further, there were 4,000 houses and 80 schools that were damaged. 12,000 families were displaced because of the blast. There were more than 7,000 workers who became unemployed.
This explosion took place only days after the September 11 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center. So the local citizens felt that this was another terrorist attack. Even before the explosion took place the local people had objected to the chemical plant and had asked for the plant to close down. There were protests after the explosion and a there was a demand that the plant be closed down permanently. The core problem is that chemical plants are located in urban areas giving rise to the risk of explosions and destruction in its aftermath. These plants were originally built in areas which were rural but later these areas flourished and urbanization occurred around these plants. In case of the accident at Atofina's Grande Paroisse fertilizer plant, the blast happened because there was a reaction between ammonium nitrate and sodium dichlorisocyanurate. These chemicals were stored in the same warehouse. This was not a terrorist attack.
When the explosion took place there was a toxic cloud in the air and there were inadequate gas detectors to assess its danger. The communication networks were overloaded and could not fully support the rescue operations. Even the firefighters were not adequately protected. The communications networks were down for eight hours leading to loss of valuable time. Even the communications network for emergency services collapsed for a critical period of time (a).
The issues raised were there were inadequate risk management plans by the company. In addition, there was no risk management plan in place from the perspective of the government.

Step 2
The accident at Atofina's Grande Paroisse fertilizer plant had the effect that the company had to issue stock shares to cover damages from the accident at its Toulouse France Site. The company has made estimates of compensating and damages which the ...

Solution Summary

This solution explains the accident at Atofina's Grande Paroisse fertilizer plant. The sources used are also included in the solution.