What is the LEPC?
Local Emergency Planning
Committees, or LEPCs, are mandated by the
Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) of
EPCRA was originally
created to help communities plan for emergencies involving hazardous
substances. The Act establishes requirements for federal, state and
local governments, Indian tribes, and industry regarding emergency
planning and “Community Right-to-Know” reporting on hazardous and
toxic chemicals. The Community Right-to-Know provisions help increase
the public’s knowledge and access to information on chemicals at
individual facilities, their uses, and releases into the environment.
States and communities, working with facilities, can use the
information to improve chemical safety and protect public health and
There are four major provisions of EPCRA:
Emergency Planning (Sections 301 – 303)
Emergency Release Notification (Section 304)
Hazardous Chemical Storage Reporting (Sections 311 – 312)
• Toxic Chemical Release
Inventory (Section 313)
local emergency planning requirements (Sections 301 to 303)
stipulate that every community in the United States must be part of a
comprehensive emergency response plan. Facilities are required to
participate in the planning process.
Emergency Response Commissions (SERCs) oversee the implementation
of EPCRA requirements in each state.
Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs) work to understand chemical
hazards in the community, develop emergency plans in case of an
accidental release, and look for ways to prevent chemical accidents.
LEPCs are made up of emergency management agencies, responders,
industry and the public.
The Governor of each State
has designated a State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) to
implement EPCRA statewide. The SERCs, in turn, have appointed about
3,500 local emergency planning districts and appointed an LEPC for
The SERC supervises and
coordinates the activities of the LEPC and reviews the local emergency
response plans. LEPC-developed emergency response plans are local
emergency operations plans.
Incorporation of the
National Incident Management System (NIMS) into ALL Emergency
Operations Plans (EOPs) within the State is a specific requirement for
States to be NIMS compliant. Therefore, LEPC emergency response plans
must be NIMS compliant. For more information on plan development and
NIMS Integration, click
Since the attacks of 9/11,
the responsibilities of the LEPCs have expanded to include preparation
for, and mitigation and management of,
“All Hazards” threats whether they come from natural causes (like
severe weather and earthquakes), man-made causes (transportation
accidents, chemical or radiation accidents, criminal or terrorist
activity), or infections diseases (like flu epidemics or biological
Wood County’s LEPC
was formed in its current form
in December of 1997, and consists of representatives from:
• all levels of county and city government
• emergency responders (law enforcement, fire, and Emergency Medical
• area businesses and industry, and
community at large.
A “Whole Community”
In keeping with the 2011
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Whole Community Approach to Disaster Preparedness directives,
membership in the Wood/Wirt County LEPC is as inclusive as possible,
engaging and involving all interested parties within our communities.
All of the LEPC meetings are open to the public, and members of area
business, industry, and the community at large are encouraged to
become active in the meetings and other activities of the Committee.
A brief review of our
Member List will provide you
with an understanding of the various agencies and businesses
represented on the Committee.
The mission of the
Combined Wood and Wirt County Local Emergency Planning Committee is to
bring together elected and appointed city and county officials,
emergency responders, and other concerned parties to develop, test,
maintain, and publish plans for the prevention and mitigation of, and
timely response to, “All Hazards” emergencies for the safety and
security of the citizens of our counties.
What Does the LEPC Do?
brief explanation of the process that is known as the “Emergency
Management Cycle” is in order. The Emergency Management Cycle consists
of four phases:
• Mitigation/Prevention: Activities which are
designed to either prevent the occurrence of an emergency or minimize
the potentially adverse effects of an emergency, including
zoning/building code ordinances and enforcement of land use
• Planning/Preparedness: Activities, programs, and
systems which exist prior to an emergency and are used to support and
enhance response to an emergency or disaster. Public education,
planning, training, and exercising are among the activities conducted
under this phase.
• Response: Activities and programs designed to
address the immediate effects of the onset of an emergency or disaster
and help to reduce casualties and damage, and to speed recovery.
Coordination, Warning, Evacuation, and Mass Care are examples of
• Recovery: Activities involving restoring systems to
normal. Recovery actions are taken to assess damage and return vital
life support systems to minimum operating standards; long term
recovery may continue for many years.
The LEPC is primarily engaged in the
planning/preparedness phase of the cycle, and our goal is to
anticipate, plan and train for, prevent where possible, and minimize
the effects of “all hazards” emergency events whether they come from
natural causes (like severe weather and earthquakes), man-made causes
(transportation accidents, chemical or radiation accidents, criminal
or terrorist activity), or infections diseases (like flu epidemics).
The committee also prepares plans for the remaining three phases of
the Emergency Management Cycle.
Beginning mid-year 2011, the Federal government
through FEMA requires each county to plan and execute a minimum of
four disaster training exercises each year. The LEPC develops those
exercise plans, monitors the exercises, and then evaluates the results
of those exercises and makes recommendations to all agencies based
upon those results. In short, the exercises help all of your local
government agencies test their contingency and response plans, tell us
where our strengths and weaknesses lie, and help us improve the
overall safety, security, and preparedness of our community.
LEPC meetings are held bi-monthly in the
Parkersburg City Building and are open to the public.
Most of our forms and documents will require you to have a pdf
reader, such as Adobe Acrobat Reader, installed. If you don't
already have it, you can download it free by clicking
or on the Adobe logo.
Wednesday January 11, 2012 03:08 PM