THE PURPOSE OF THE LEPC IS TO HELP REDUCE THE COMMUNITY'S RISKS FROM ACCIDENTS INVOLVING HAZARDOUS CHEMICALS.
LEPC also serves as a focal point in the community for information and discussions about hazardous substance emergency planning, and health and environmental risks as well as natural disaster planning.
WHY IS THE LEPC NEEDED?
Chemicals are used by public and private facilities throughout Forsyth County. These chemicals are used to provide essential services like clean water and to manufacture goods at area industries.
Chemicals, such as gasoline, are transported daily along the area's highways. Although companies that handle or transport these chemicals in our state have excellent safety records, the need to plan for and be capable of responding to accidental releases of these chemicals is necessary.
Facilities that use or store a hazardous chemical above a threshold quantity must annually submit their chemical inventory information to off-site officials each year. This information is submitted to the fire department having jurisdiction over the facility, the respective county LEPC, and the SERC (State Emergency Response Commission).
Forsyth County LEPC recommends local facilities to use E-PLAN software to submit their Tier II reports.
In recent years, the LEPC's planning efforts have been refocused to include planning for a variety of disasters that may affect the community. Floods, hazardous material spills, wild fires, natural disasters, and even terrorism all constitute real challenges facing community leaders today. Planners are advocating the development of "All-Hazards" planning, which prepare towns for any disaster, not just those from chemical releases.
HOW WAS FORSYTH COUNTY'S LEPC FORMED?
Congress passed the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act in 1986 to increase public and private efforts to reduce risks associated with the use and storage of hazardous chemicals. The new law afforded the public access to information on chemicals present in their communities. The law required the formation of Local Emergency Planning Committees to develop plans for emergency response to accidents involving the release of hazardous materials.
COMMITTEE AND MEETING INFORMATION
The LEPC includes representatives from fire departments, law enforcement, emergency medical service agencies, private industries, city/county emergency management officials, hospitals, and schools. Meetings are held quarterly and serve as useful venues for the following:
- Sharing information
- Networking among emergency responders
- Providing educational programs
For more information about our next meeting, call the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Office of Emergency Management at 727-8000.
The Forsyth County LEPC also serves the dual role of Forsyth County Citizen Corps Council
The mission of the Citizen Corps is to encourage individuals through education, training, and volunteer service to make our communities safer, stronger, and better prepared to respond to the threats of terrorism, crime, public heath issues, and disasters of all kinds.
Everyone can do something to help make our families and communities safer through the following programs:
- Volunteers in Police Services (VIPS)
- Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT)
- Medical Reserve Corps
- Fire Corps
- Neighborhood Watch