FOLEY, Alabama — The Baldwin County Local Emergency Planning Committee held its quarterly meeting on Monday, Sept. 23 at the Foley Civic Center.
Guest speaker Beth Woodfin, with ADEM’s EPCRA Data Repository, gave an overview of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act and the E-Plan system for reporting hazardous materials storage in the state.
An act of the State Legislature passed in 1986 requires that each county maintain an LEPC for the purposes of identifying companies that store and transport hazardous materials, provide oversight for the proper disposal of those materials and have an action plan in place should a disaster occur involving hazardous materials.
The committee is comprised of local first responders, representatives from hospitals and health agencies, volunteer organizations and members of the private sector. Lt. Kevin Carnley with the Foley Police Department currently serves as chairman for the group.
Meetings include committee reports, including a financial report, shelter report, medical health, law enforcement, fire services, industry and Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD).
“I think it’s important for the public to know that these meetings are open to anyone who wants to attend,” said Jenni Guerry, secretary/treasurer for the LEPC. “The more diverse the input we get, the better we are able to develop a plan.”
Also at Monday’s meeting, Zach Hood, director of the Baldwin County Emergency Management Agency, discussed the recent hazardous chemical spill that shut down Interstate 10 near the Alabama-Florida state line for several hours overnight Tuesday, Sept. 17, into Wednesday morning, Sept. 18.
“I think this is a lesson on the importance of communication in dealing with these types of situations,” Hood said. “I think (Loxley Fire) Chief (Tony) Lovell did an outstanding job of accessing the situation and calling in Daphne to take the lead in the cleanup response.”
Hood said he also appreciated ADEM’s response in sending someone to assess the scene.
“It was initially reported as a chlorine spill, but we are later able to determine that it was lime,” Hood said. “Thanks to the quick work of everyone on scene, it was cleaned up and no injuries were reported, including the truck’s driver.”
The Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office sent drones to take photos over the site, Hood said.
Hood said he also saw the response as an opportunity to consider adding a logistical support element to hazardous spill response.
“I saw several first responders there performing logistical support, meaning that they were moving boxes and equipment around,” Hood said. “I think there should be a way to take that burden from them so they can better focus on the job at hand.”
Lunch, provided by the South Baldwin Regional Medical Center, followed the meeting.
The next meeting of the Local Emergency Planning Committee will be the annual Christmas luncheon to be held beginning at 10:30 a.m. Monday, Dec. 16 at the Baldwin County Central Annex, 22251 Palmer St., Robertsdale. Committee members voted unanimously to spend $300 to supply meat for the meeting. Committee members were also asked to bring a side dish.