Every once in a while we hear about hazmat spills or chemical explosions–including one just last year at a fertilizer warehouse in West, Texas that claimed at least 14 lives. U-S safety investigators indicated that explosion could have been prevented–and prevention is just what a group in Kansas is trying to do, with a three day conference held in Junction City.
Harry Heintzelman serves as the LEPC Coordinator for the Kansas Division of Emergency Management and State Emergency Response Commission, and he tells KMAN the state conference has accomplished its purpose, and that’s to get information to every county’s Local Emergency Planning Committee on how to plan for emergency response to chemical incidents, and to get information to the public.
Heintzelman was happy with the turnout at the three day event, with about 80 people showing up from all across the state. Heintzelman says sessions were on how to report spills and on routine reporting that facilities are required to do on a yearly basis to local LEPC’s, which keep plans updated on where chemicals are stored.
Pottawatomie County’s Emergency management Director Chris Trudo was in attendance. Trudo says county LEPC’s working with industries to keep an accounting of chemicals present is crucial to what LEPC’s do.
Riley County’s LEPC was also represented by several representatives, including Emergency Manager Laurie Harrison and County Commission Chair Robert Boyd.
And Garry Berges, Emergency Management Director for Geary County was also there and says the meeting is also a chance to compare notes with each other. Berges says this coming September the state emergency management conference will be held in Junction City with up to 200 people expected to attend.