Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs) are appointed by theState Emergency Response Commission (SERC). LEPCs must consist of representatives of all of the following groups and organizations:
- Elected and local officials
- Law enforcement
- Civil defense
- First Aid
- Local environmental and transportation agencies
- Broadcast and print media
- Community groups
- Representatives of facilities subject to the emergency planning and community right-to-know requirements.
The LEPCs initial task is to develop an emergency plan to prepare for and respond to chemical emergencies. The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) list of extremely hazardous substances provides a focus for setting priorities in the planning effort. The plan is required to be completed by October 17th of each year and is continually reviewed, tested and updated. Because the LEPC’s members represent the community, they are familiar with factors that affect public safety, the environment and the economy of the community. That expertise is essential as the LEPC develops a plan that is tailored to the needs of the county.
An emergency plan must include the identity and location of hazardous materials; procedures for immediate response to a chemical accident; ways to notify the public about actions they must take; names of coordinators at plants and schedules and plans for testing the plan. Once the plan is written, the SERC must review it. The LEPC must publicize the plan through public meetings or newspaper announcements, get public comments and periodically test the plan by conducting emergency drills. The LEPC must also update the plan at least annually and let the public know of its activities.
The LEPC has other responsibilities besides developing an emergency response plan. The committee receives emergency releases and hazardous chemical inventory information submitted by local facilities and must make this information available to the public upon request. The LEPC has the authority to request additional information from facilities for their own planning purposes or on behalf of others. Members may want to visit facilities in the community to find out what they are doing to reduce hazards, prepare for accidents and reduce hazardous inventories and releases. LEPCs are able to take civil actions against facilities if they fail to provide the information required under the Act.
In addition to its formal responsibilities, the LEPC serves as a focal point in the community for information and discussions about hazardous substances, emergency planning and health and environmental risks. Citizens can expect the LEPC to reply to questions about chemical hazards and risk management actions. It can also anticipate questions about the extent and the health and environmental effects of routine toxic chemical releases. Even though this information is not required by the law to be sent to LEPCs, EPA and the states are working together to ensure this information is available at the local level. Many companies are voluntarily providing local committees and other citizens with this information.
The LEPCs ability to improve the safety and health of the community is greatly enhanced by the support of an informed and active citizenry.
Members of the Ottawa County Local Emergency Planning Committee are:
Ottawa County Sheriff
Ottawa County Commissioner
H.B. Magruder Hospital
Ottawa County EMA
Ottawa County Health Commissioner
Director Ottawa County EMA
|Duane D. Waite,
Transport Concepts Intl.
Red Cross Northwest Ohio
Chief, Port Clinton Fire Department
|Beth Koch Greer
Ottawa County EMA
The Ottawa County Plan for Response to Hazardous Materials Emergencies is available for review by the public at the Ida Rupp Public Library in Port Clinton, Ohio.