By Frank Denzler Rushville Republican
---- — The Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) met recently and held a table top training exercise as a means to remain compliant with state mandates.
LEPC members are appointed by the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) and are comprised of elected local officials, law enforcement, civil defense agencies, hospital members, firefighting health transportation agencies and broadcast and print media members. The group is required to develop an emergency plan and comprise a list of all EPA hazardous materials and their location in the county. Additionally, the plan must be updated and tested annually either by an actual emergency or a training exercise.
A spill earlier this year in the county was realized when a volunteer fire truck from Anderson Township lost roughly 200 to 250 gallons of fuel while fighting a fire. It was anticipated at that time the spill, coupled with the containment and cleanup effort, would fulfill state requirements, however state officials did not recognize the spill as an emergency as of the magnitude necessary to implement the Rush County plan.
The state of Indiana currently requires that all spills and exercises meet standards set by the Homeland Security Exercise Evaluation Program (HSEEP).
“In order be compliant, we need to follow their (Homeland Security) guidelines, The reason behind the change (in training exercises and response to actual spills) is essentially to receive federal dollars,” Chuck Kemker said in May of this year.
During 2012, Rush County received $37,500 as a result of being compliant with state LECP mandates.
As a result of the May spill not being recognized by state officials, local LEPC members met Dec. 18 in the Assembly Room of the courthouse and conducted a controlled exercise that included all the elements required by state officials. County EMA Director Chuck Kemker was pleased with the outcome by saying that each of the departments involved worked well together to quickly and effectively resolve problems associated with table top exercise.
Contact: Frank Denzler @ 765.932.2222 x106.