With thousands of trucks, railcars and other vehicles traveling through the city each year, it is critical for first responders to understand what cargo is coming into the city. In order to determine this, the Lynchburg Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) recently contracted with Blue Rock Enterprises, LLC, out of Castle Rock, Colorado to have a Commodity Flow Study completed.
The Commodity Flow study provided detailed information about the types and quantities of hazardous materials that travel through the City of Lynchburg’s major highways on a daily basis. The study was funded by the 2016 Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness Grant which is passed through to the localities by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) from the United States Department of Transportation.
The information from this study will allow local emergency responders and agencies to better plan and prepare for potential incidents involving hazardous materials. The City of Lynchburg will make this information available to surrounding counties, universities and colleges, and local and state agencies who are also involved in emergency planning and preparedness in the area.
In 1986, Congress passed a law that establishes requirements for businesses and for federal, state and local governments regarding emergency planning and community right to know. This followed the Bhopal Disaster in India where thousands of people died because of an accident involving hazardous materials. LEPCs are links between citizens, industry and the government. The role of an LEPC is to form a partnership with local governments and industries as a resource for enhancing emergency preparedness, and in most cases, hazardous materials preparedness. Membership comes from the local area representing various organizations, agencies, departments, facilities and other groups within the area. Virginia has 114 LEPCs which include cities or towns, counties or joint LEPCs (which include a cooperating group of a county and one or more cities or towns).
For information regarding the Lynchburg LEPC, contact Melissa Foster, Department of Emergency Services Director at (434) 455-4290. To learn more about the LEPC, visit http://www.lynchburgva.gov/lynchburg-local-emergency-planning-committee