LEPC discusses training exercises and changes to emergency notification

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Saline Local Emergency Planning Coalition gathered at the Slater City Hall on Monday, Feb. 10, to go over past training exercises, planned educational opportunities and a new way for emergency personnel to be notified in the case of an emergency incident.

Saline County Emergency Management Director Russ Donnell led the meeting, and discussed the hazardous materials technician class Oct. 7-9 that took place at the Marshall Cargill Plant. Saline LEPC contributed $3,500 to the training event and two Marshall firefighters, three Sweet Springs firefighters and two Medical Reserve Corps volunteers were trained. The after-action report of the training session was presented and approved.

Marshall Fire Chief Tony Day and the three MFD battalion chiefs, along with Donnell, attended two classes in December, one about ammonia nitrate regulatory training and the other an introduction to the globally harmonized system for responders--which is a way of labeling chemicals. Donnell noted the goal is to have the same set of rules for classifying hazards, and the same format/content for labels and safety data sheets.

Donnell stated several first responders will attend an eight-hour emergency response radiological transportation training in Sedalia next week, and they will learn if they are eligible for some free equipment.

Donnell also noted first responders met with E-911 Director Stacie Smith about the pipeline explosion in Pettis County. Donnell said at the meeting it was agreed that:

1. Saline County E-911 will establish a list of emergency agency administrators, like law enforcement, firefighters and EMTs, to notify them of an occurring emergency within the county or a potential disaster occurring outside the county that could effect Saline County.

2. Donnell will contact 211 to develop a memo of understanding between Saline County and United Way 211 in order to establish a communication line to assist each other during a disaster or emergency. The number could also be a source of information for the community in regards to shelters open, relief, etc.

"People don't need to call 911 just to ask what is going on," Donnell said. "This way, there is a number for people to call when they have questions."

3. Educate the public not to call 911 for information.

4. Issue a press release as soon as possible to advise the nature of the event, any possible dangers and safety messages to citizens of Saline County.

It was also noted at the meeting by Marshall Police Chief Mike Donnell that a text-alert system would be beneficial with informing the community of emergency situations.

Maureen Burke, with the State Emergency Management Agency, noted there will be a weeklong training in June that organizations can participate in of their own volition.

Saline LEPC business concluded and Saline County Emergency Planning Coalition began.

Day said the local fire chiefs have formed an association to harmonize the training in the area so that all firefighters are trained the same as a way to corroborate efforts during emergencies. Day also noted another purpose of the organization was to bring training efforts to the county. He listed events scheduled to take place in Marshall, Arrow Rock and Sweet Springs.

The group approved covering the cost, approximately $250, of a Missouri Emergency Response Commission Region A LEPC lunch to take place March 11 in Marshall.

Contact Kelsey Alumbaugh at kalumbaugh@marshallnews.com

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