Covington County is required under the Federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) to have an active and functioning Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC). Due to the Covid Pandemic over the last few years, Covington County LEPC has not had the opportunity to meet but is excited to get the committee back active and going. The activities of this committee include development/maintenance of an emergency response plan for chemical accidents, receiving chemical reports from covered facilities, and making that information available to the public. Representation on the LEPC from the following groups is required by statute: local officials/state/tribal, law enforcement, firefighting, emergency management, health, broadcast/communications media, print media, emergency medical services, transportation, local environmental group, community group, and facility owners/operators subject to the provisions of EPCRA.
Having a LEPC not only gives us a chance to prepare for accidents but also gives a chance for community leaders from government, first responders, and businesses to come together to network and learn about emergency preparedness and response. Having an active LEPC gives the opportunity to apply for the Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness (HMEP) grant from Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). This grant if awarded provides training and planning programs that address different needs for Covington County, emergency response capabilities, commodity flow studies, and hazard analysis of hazardous chemicals. The LEPC meets two times per year in the City of Collins, with Thursday, February 23rd, being the first meeting of 2023 at the Collins Civic Center in Collins.