Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC)
In 1986, as a result of several catastrophic hazardous materials releases in the United States and overseas, Congress passed the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act. Included was Title III Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA) which calls for the establishment of State emergency response commissions, which in turn are tasked with appointing local emergency planning committees (LEPCs) to develop strategies to prevent, respond to and mitigate hazardous materials releases in their communities. In Arizona, there are LEPCs in each of the 15 counties.
The role of the LEPC and its members is to form partnerships with local industries and government entities as a resource for enhancing preparedness for hazardous materials emergencies. The steps in this process include:
It is essential for industry to play a part in this process to ensure facility response plans and capabilities dovetail with local government emergency plans. Misperceptions between industry and response personnel can have a catastrophic impact on not only the business but on the citizens of the planning district of Pima County. According to the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA), every facility subject to regulation is required to identify and provide the name of a facility emergency coordinator, report types and quantities of regulated chemicals on site, provide Safety Data Sheets (SDSs), and permit local fire departments to inspect their facilities.
- Ensuring hazard analyses are completed and updated including hazmat incidents as well as potential off-site effects of facility releases;
- Integrating hazardous materials incident planning with local emergency plans;
- Ensuring hazardous materials response capability assessments are accomplished and shortfalls identified and addressed;
- Enhancing hazardous materials preparedness and response capabilities through responder and business training;
- Participating in development of mutual aid agreements with relevant jurisdictions; and
- Practicing and testing hazmat plans and response capabilities with realistic tabletop and field exercises.