LEPC stands for Local Emergency Planning Committee, which is mandated by the State as well as Federal regulations. Now, don’t get too excited regarding the federal part of that, as the role of the LEPC is to involve local folks in everything from response to recovery, and particularly in planning, for an event.
The role of LEPC’s is to form a partnership with state, local and tribal government, responders, and industry as an enhancement for prevention, preparedness, response and recovery, planning, exercising and training. Local government is responsible for planning and response within their jurisdiction for all hazards. This includes ensuring the local hazard analysis adequately addresses any possible incidents that may occur in your jurisdiction; incorporating planning for those incidents in the local emergency operations plan; assessing capabilities and developing response capability using local resources, mutual aid and contractors; training responders; and exercising the plan.
LEPC’s are crucial to local planning and community right-to-know programs, such as the Tier II reports regarding storage of hazardous materials in your communities. The membership comes from the local area and is familiar with factors that affect public safety, the environment, and the economy of the community. This expertise is essential as the LEPC is involved in the writing of the local emergency operations plan.
In addition to its formal duties, the LEPC can serve as a focal point in the community for information and discussion about emergency planning, training and exercising. Citizens may expect the LEPC to answer questions about all hazards and risk management actions.
Members of the LEPC represent the various organizations, agencies, departments, facilities and other groups within the jurisdiction. Each member must realize that they represent their organization on the LEPC and that they are responsible for coordinating information and activities from the LEPC to their organization, and for providing accurate feedback from their organization back to the LEPC. The LEPC has many responsibilities, mandates, and deadlines. The membership can organize to handle these various tasks by utilizing individual efforts, subcommittees, or contracted assistance.
Your Idaho County LEPC includes your local Fire, EMS, and Law Enforcement agencies, Ham radio operators, Public Health as well as state fire agencies and Idaho Department of Corrections and the American Red Cross.
What does it take to make your LEPC work ? As you can see, it is designed for training and planning for emergencies that may happen in your county, therefore, we need your participation. In order to develop solid plans for everyone’s safety, we need everyone involved. Our next meeting is Thursday May 16th at 9 AM in the Grangeville City Council meeting room. They are held on the third Thursday of each month, at 9 AM at the same location. We routinely have speakers who cover assorted areas of the LEPC roles, planning, preparation, response and recovery, who provide valuable information to the members. I encourage folks to attend a meeting, be involved with your safety and emergency preparedness.
Terry S. Cochran
Idaho County LEPC