Emergency Response

For almost 50 years, Exponent has been recognized worldwide as a leader in the investigation of major product and process failures and natural disasters. With a professional staff that covers more than 90 technical disciplines, Exponent’s emergency response is unparalleled because of our ability to assemble a multidisciplinary team covering every technical requirement to respond to virtually any emergency. Exponent’s consultants have significant experience in data collection, sample preservation and documentation, as well as the assessment of potential longer term impacts (e.g., damage claims, regulatory agency interaction, litigation, etc.) of emergency events. Exponent’s emergency response experience includes many high-profile failures, accidents, and natural disasters including Hurricane Sandy, World Trade Center attack, Northridge Earthquake, Hurricane Katrina, Piper Alpha oil rig explosion, and the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill. 

Exponent’s multidisciplinary emergency response team includes staff with specific expertise in three broad areas: engineering, health, and environmental issues.


Exponent engineers have investigated almost all types of natural disasters and accidents and specialize in the rapid response to hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, landslides, or man-made catastrophes, including construction accidents, pipeline failures, retaining wall failures, dam and embankment failures, and building collapses. Our multidisciplinary engineering team has expertise in civil, geotechnical, geological, and structural engineering, fire and explosion investigations, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, materials and metallurgy, and aeronautical engineering. Our staff also has expertise in the technical oversight and management of catastrophe response planning and the investigation and quality control audits of engineering services.

For accidents and failures, Exponent brings the highest level of scientific and engineering expertise to determine the cause of the failure or accident, the nature and extent of damage, and to develop or assess the most appropriate repair. Exponent’s engineers and scientists have experience with quick and thorough documentation of a failure site, so that it can be repaired or cleared and operations (emergency or otherwise) can continue. We also have extensive experience in the identification, recovery, and preservation of key physical evidence needed to determine the cause of a failure.


Our staff have responded to a variety of health-related emergency events including major oil spills, natural disasters, possible ricin contamination of a beverage, Legionella in portable water systems of resort hotels and cruise ships, community and occupational exposures to dioxins and PCBs following industrial fires, food products contamination, indoor air quality and mold issues, and gastrointestinal outbreaks due to Norwalk-type viruses and protozoan parasites. Exponent’s staff of Health Sciences professionals has significant expertise in clinical medicine, public health and sanitation, toxicology, industrial hygiene, epidemiology, infectious diseases, pesticides, water and food borne outbreaks, and chemical additives. Our health professionals have aided companies and government agencies in educating their staffs about biological and chemical weapons and have aided these clients by reviewing their preparedness programs. Our food scientists have assisted clients who need immediate assistance when a product has been discovered to be contaminated with microorganisms or foreign bodies. Our consultants include epidemiologists, physicians, food scientists, toxicologists, statisticians, and industrial hygienists, among whom are former medical directors at Fortune 500 companies and program directors in the EPA and FDA.


Exponent’s environmental scientists and engineers have experience in managing environmental issues related to large oil spills. They have also provided technical support related to large chemical spills from train derailments of highly hazardous chemicals (specifically in California and Arkansas). The large chemical spills and accidents in industrial plants for which we have provided technical consultation have involved asbestos, PCBs, dioxins, chlorinated solvents, and heavy metals. Exponent’s staff have expertise in an array of environmental issues, specializing in environmental air quality evaluation, ecological and human health risk assessment, environmental management systems, environmental economics analysis, natural resource damage assessment, site investigation and liability management, toxic tort claims investigation, toxicology consultation, and water resources and water quality management.



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