Local Emergency Planning Committee
The Grundy County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) was created by an act of Congress known as the “Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986 (EPCRA). The law requires that each state establish planning districts. In Illinois, the Governor named each county a planning District.
Each district was to form a committee that included a representative from the following groups or organizations.
- Elected State and Local Officials
- Law Enforcement
- Civil Defense/Emergency Management
- Fire Fighting
- First Aid
- Local Environmental
- Transportation Personnel
- Broadcast and Print Media
- Community Groups
- Facility Owners/Operators
The Grundy County Chemical Emergency Planning Committee was established in 1984 as a result of the Bhopal, India chemical release that killed and injured thousands. Local industry and emergency responders formally began working together to improve communications and response capabilities in the event of a release. This committee was expanded and took on the role of the LEPC after passage of the EPCRA.
Through an intergovernmental agreement the Grundy County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) provides administrative support to the LEPC. EMA has many of the same goals and responsibilities as the LEPC.
The offices are located in the Grundy County Administration Center, 1320 Union Street, Morris, IL. 60450.
Under the law, the LEPC must ensure that adequate emergency planning for chemical releases exist. At a minimum these plans must address the following topics:
- Identification of the facilities within the district that use, manufacture, store or transport any of the listed extremely hazardous substances.
- Identification of the routes likely to be used to transport any of the listed substances.
- Identification of facilities that would contribute to or that are subjected to additional risk as a result of their proximity to the covered facility.
- The methods and procedures to be followed by the facility and local emergency personnel responding to a release of listed substances.
- Designation of “Community Emergency Coordinator” and “Community Information Coordinator” who shall be responsible for the implementation of the plan and management of the Public Information files.
- Development of procedures that provide for the timely notification of releases from the facility to the community emergency coordinator, local emergency personnel, and the public.
- Methods for determining the occurrence of a release and the area or population likely to be affected by the release.
- A description of emergency equipment and facilities of the community and each covered facility.
- The development of evacuation plans which include precautionary evacuation and alternate traffic routes.
- Training programs for local emergency and medical personnel.
- Methods that exercise or test the plan.
- The committee also receives and places on the public file, chemical inventory forms, Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), reports, plans and follow-up release reports. By following established procedures, the general public may review many of these files.
Emergency Response Plan:
The LEPC recognizes the Gundy County Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) as a very good plan and continues to use it today. The LEPC participates in the countrywide planning process and is responsible for the Chemical Safety Annex of the plan. The industrial members of the LEPC have fostered a good working relationship with the emergency response community and play a significant role in the reviewing and testing of that plan through drills and “what if” sessions.
Hazardous Material Response:
The LEPC was instrumental in identifying the need for and the development of the Grundy County Hazardous Material Response Team. The support of the Grundy County Board, local emergency service providers, business, industry and volunteers has added this important capability to local resources.
Making the community aware of the hazards associated with the manufacture, use, storage and transportation of hazardous chemicals is the LEPC’s most important mission. Equally important is information regarding the steps being taken to reduce the risks on a day-to-day basis and information in the event of a release of a hazardous chemical substance. The LEPC has and continues to provide pamphlets on “In-Place Sheltering” and “Emergency Evacuation”. The LEPC also promotes the “Family Protection Program” with other emergency management partners. Comments, questions and concerns from the public regarding chemical safety are always welcome.
Training of emergency response personnel, in addition to that provided be each covered facility, is one of the LEPC’s highest priorities. The LEPC works closely with the Chief Shabbona Fire Fighters Association, area law enforcement and other emergency service providers to ensure that the needed training is available to our local emergency response personnel.
Public warnings are issued for a number of threatening situations tha may include severe weather, nuclear power plant emergencies, chemical release and many other hazards. One or a combination of methods may give public warning. If the outdoor warning sirens are activated, other than for testing on the first Tuesday morning of the month, tune to one of the local Emergency Alert System radio stations for information. Those stations are:
- WCSJ – 103.1 FM
- WBEQ – 90.7 FM
- WJDK – 95.7 FM
The LEPC strongly support the use of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio with Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) for a wide variety of emergency messages and instructions. These radios are available in many electronic or department stores.
Emergency personnel may provide information by loudspeaker depending on the situation. If a public warning is issued, remain calm and follow the official instructions.
For information regarding Local Emergency Planning Committee activities, membership, or public information, contact the Community Emergency Coordinator at:
Grundy County LEPC
1320 Union Street, Room E-01
Morris, IL 60450-2426