Why LEPCs are Essential
By statute, LEPCs should include representatives from each of the following groups or organizations: elected State and local officials, law enforcement, civil defense, firefighting, first aid, health, local environmental, hospital, transportation, broadcast and print media, community groups, and owners and operators of facilities subject to EPCRA. This LEPC stakeholder composition ensures that all the essential players, including the public, are included in the chemical emergency preparedness effort.
LEPCs promote communication among these varied groups and provide for a range of issues and perspectives to be considered and addressed before an incident occurs. The Hazconnect LEPC Management module can help SERCs manage LEPCs across the state and help LEPCs manage their performance elements such as By-Laws, Budgets, Exercise Proposals, Membership Rosters, and more.
LEPCs are tasked with establishing and maintaining community emergency response plans for chemical emergencies.
These plans cover a range of topics. They include identification of covered facilities, nearby sites subject to risk, designation of community and facility emergency coordinators, and response procedures for facilities and local emergency and medical personnel. They also address methods for determining when a release occurs, the potential area affected, procedures for providing notification to necessary persons and the public, and evacuation plans. Emergency equipment and facilities in the community are identified as part of the plan, and training programs and exercising of the plan are also addressed. In addition, the LEPCs assess whether any resources are needed. Having the plans established and maintained by LEPCs allows input by all the involved groups, and ensures everyone is aware of their role and responsibilities. And the plans are updated annually, or more frequently as circumstances in the community or at a facility warrant. This helps to ensure ongoing cooperation and vigilance. The Hazconnect Emergency Response Plan module can help LEPCs streamline the entire plan development and sharing process.
As part of the planning process, LEPCs receive reports from facilities concerning chemicals used, stored, and released. Not only is this information reviewed by the LEPCs for analyzing potential hazards and updating and maintaining the emergency response plan, but this information is made available to the public. The LEPCs publish annual notices concerning the availability of the information, as well as the emergency plan, and have procedures in place for addressing public requests for access to the information. Promoting public awareness and participation in managing chemical risks in the community is an important role of the LEPC.
Hazconnect provides a range of services beneficial to LEPCs. From managing and evaluating reports from facilities, analyzing hazards and sharing information with emergency responders, to developing the emergency response plan, to promoting public involvement and data access, Hazconnect can help LEPCs manage their responsibilities more efficiently and effectively.