On December 4, 1984, 44 tons of a poisonous gas were released into the air at Bhopal India, killing a least 2,500 people and severely injuring many more. Subsequently, Congress and the President enacted legislation called the Superfund Re-authorization Act of 1986 (SARA). The third major section of SARA (Title III) is identified as the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act (EPCRA). The primary objectives of this legislation are to improve local emergency response to accidental or unplanned releases of hazardous substances, and provide citizens and local governments access to information about hazardous substances located in the community. EPCRA requires the establishment of local emergency planning districts. The Coffey County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) was originally formed in 1987 to comply with these requirements.
The LEPC is tasked to "establish rules, give public notice of its activities, establish written guidelines for handling public requests for information, and develop an emergency response plan" to deal with hazardous materials that exist in Coffey County, including their use, storage, processing or transportation.
In order to accomplish this task, the LEPC must:
- Identify facilities which are subject to the requirements of Title III within Coffey County along with transportation routes of extremely hazardous substances.
- Develop methods and guidelines which facility owners and operators and local emergency personnel will follow in response to releases of hazardous materials.
- Ensure the designation of a community emergency response coordinator and facility emergency coordinators.
- Establish reliable, effective and timely guidelines to notify emergency coordinators and first responders that a release has occurred.
- Develop methods for determining a release and the area or population likely to be affected.
- Compile a description of emergency equipment, and facilities in the community and the persons responsible for these facilities and equipment.
- Prepare evacuation plans including traffic routes and provisions.
- Facilitate development of training programs including scheduling for training of local responders.
- Develop methods and schedules for exercising the emergency plan from LEPC bylaws.
We propose to accomplish these tasks by:
- Making hazardous materials training available to all emergency responders in Coffey County that could be involved in an emergency involving hazardous materials. This would include (but not be limited to): Law Enforcement, Fire, Emergency Management, Health and Medical, Media and Elected Officials.
- Practical exercises to practice skills, involving these same responders.
- Obtaining educational materials for distribution to the public.
The LEPC is composed of ordinary citizens and representatives from local governments, county emergency management, fire departments, health and emergency medical agencies, hospital, public communication media, community (service/civil) groups, industry, and general citizens. As a resident of the community, you are welcome to attend our meetings.
The Coffey County LEPC invites everyone to attend a meeting to become better acquainted. Meetings are held the 2nd Wednesday of January, April, July, and October, at 9:00 a.m., in the courthouse basement. To obtain more information, visit the Emergency Management Office in the courthouse basement, or call (620) 364-2721, or write to: Coffey County LEPC, 110 S. 6th St., Room 3, Burlington, KS 66839.
LEPC Past Projects:
- Commodity Flow Study
- City Tabletop Exercises
- Airport Exercise
- Hazardous Materials Accident involving railroad in Lebo
LEPC Current Projects:
- Hazard Mitigation Plan
- Tabletop Drill with John Redmond Reservoir